The arrival of a baby into a family often puts the parents into the tough spot of having to depart from their beloved pet. The fear that pets are harmful to the health of young children has been around a long time and is fully engraved into people’s mindset. Science has come to disprove that notion and put an end to the timeless “dog or baby” question.
According to Finnish scientists, children who grow up with dogs are less likely to catch colds and viral infections in comparison to children lacking a four-legged friend. The experiment was carried out with 397 newborns being observed in Finland until they reached one year of age. The parents filled out certain questionnaires regularly concerning the development and health of their children.
Of the 397 babies in the study, 245 of them lived in presence of a pet dog, 136 lived in cat-loving households, while by the end of the study 65% of the dog families parted from their pets and 76% of cat families did the same. Although all newborns have very fragile immune systems and are often infected with viral diseases and colds, the study found that babies who were exposed to dogs and cats early in their lives proved healthier and had 30% less cases of coughing, sneezing, high temperature, runny nose, and other symptoms.
In addition, children living with pets were 40% less likely to exhibit signs of ear infections and 29% less likely to need antibiotics.
According to the results of the study, the higher the child’s interaction with dogs, the lower the risk of health problems arising, proving that pets help children’s immune system mature at a faster pace.