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Which Pets Improve Children’s Health?

To my surprise, studies of the effects of pets on human health and well-being have actually produced a mishmash of conflicting results. For example, some studies show pets lower your blood pressure—in some cases more than drugs do—but other studies found no effect, or even that pet owners have higher blood pressure!

One area where there’s a bit more consistency is children’s health. The presence of pets in the home appears to significantly decrease the risk of infectious diseases in children, including ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and gastroenteritis. But which pets work better–cats or dogs? Find out by watching the video above (starring my furry family!).

Protection from respiratory infections and tummy ailments is one thing, but what about cancer? See my video Pets & Human Lymphoma.

Of course it’s best if you don’t eat them! In my video Foodborne Rabies I explore the role the consumption of cat and dog meat may be playing in massive human rabies epidemics in Asia (WARNING: folks may find some of the concepts and images in that video disturbing). Though proper cooking destroys the rabies virus, careless preparation can lead to infection. Cross-contamination of foodborne pathogens during meat preparation is an issue regardless of the species, of course. See, for example, Food Poisoning Bacteria Cross-Contamination, and Unsafe at Any Feed.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 year-in-review presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.

Image credit: Petteri Sulonen via Wikimedia Commons

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Read more: Health, Cats, Children, Dogs, Safety, Videos, ,

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Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at


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6:47PM PST on Jan 24, 2014

There are only advantages when raising kids with pets :)

11:19AM PST on Jan 1, 2014

Any pet that you truly love will improve your health! Thank you for sharing.

4:24AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

5:01AM PDT on Mar 29, 2013

Thank You :)

5:05PM PDT on Mar 27, 2013

All pets will improve health...

4:51AM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

Ooh, now I know one more reason why I love me cat :)

5:00PM PDT on Mar 23, 2013


7:20AM PDT on Mar 23, 2013

Keeping pet animals like dogs and cats really makes us healthier. We practically grew up with dogs, sleeps together with them and even kisses them.
Pet dogs really calms and soothes us whenever we are feeling stressed out and anxiety.and this is priceless and very precious

3:44AM PDT on Mar 21, 2013


9:35PM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

Good one... thank you!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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