The benefits of pets on children
Lovely babies pets and animals
Girl and pet
Dogs and cats, which gives people the unconditional love and good company, might have beneficial effects on the health of children, say the authors of a recent European study.
According to the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, children living in a house where there is a pet during their first year of life have the chance to be healthier than those living in a household where there is no pet.
"Babies exposure to pets in their first months of life can boost their immune system which works better after when fighting infections", said for Los Angeles Times physician Danielle Fisher from St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica.
So children who have a dog in their first year of life had 31% fewer respiratory tract infections compared with children living in a house where there is no dog.
Children from families with pet dogs have fewer ear infections - 44% less - and need fewer antibiotics when sick.
Cats also have some beneficial effects on the children's health, but they are not as important as those caused by dogs.
The study was conducted on a sample of 397 children from Finland who were monitored from birth until the age of one year. Families reported frequency of contact that the babies had with pets - dogs and cats in this case - every week.
ABC News recently reported an association between duration of time spent inside the home by pets and their beneficial effects on children.
Children living in homes where dogs spend less than six hours a day have lower risk of respiratory problems. The authors believe that this is because animals who spend less time in the house are making less mess. Exposure to dirt lead to greater exposure to different types of bacteria, and this strengthens the immune system.
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