By Serena Gordon
MONDAY, July 9 (HealthDay News) — Babies who live with dogs and cats during their first year of life may be less susceptible to respiratory infections, such as the common cold, according to new research.
The study of nearly 400 children found that dogs were especially protective, and the babies who lived with dogs during their first year were about one-third more likely to be healthy during their first year, compared to babies who didn’t have a pet in the home. Babies with dogs in the home were 44 percent less likely to develop an ear infection, and 29 percent less likely to need antibiotics than their petless peers.
“Children who had dog contacts at home were healthier and had less frequent ear infections and needed fewer courses of antibiotics than children who had no dog contacts,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Eija Bergroth, a pediatrician who worked at Kuopio University Hospital, in Finland, at the time of the study.
Bergroth also noted that “cat contacts did not seem to have as strong of an impact on infection frequency in multivariate analysis as the dog contacts.”
Results of the study, released online July 9, will be published in the August print issue of Pediatrics.
Read more at: Babies With Pets Not Dogged by Colds: Study.