A new study by researchers at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland found that kids who grow up with pets in their home get sick less often. The study took a look at 397 children from pregnancy through their 1st birthdays and found that kids with a dog in their household had 31 percent fewer respiratory tract infections, 44 percent fewer ear infections and needed 29 percent fewer prescriptions for antibiotics.
Those kinds of stats mean that parents may spend fewer dollars spent on medication and fewer hours seeing the doctor with their wee ones. Houses with cats had similar, but less pronounced results.
Is it the dirt that Molly the lab or Mr. Peepers the tabby drags in that boosts kids’ immunity? Or is it just that kids with pets are happier and therefore healthier?
Michael Chill, Dog behaviorist and animal trainer
Dr. Tamiko Ralson, member of the department of general pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California