Want a Healthy Baby? Buy a Dog

When your friendly dog cuddles up to the baby and gives her face a big lick, don’t panic. The baby may be healthier for it. Kristina Chew reported on a University of California study that showed:

Dust from households with dogs is different from dust from homes without pets and, says The Scientist, ‘now it appears this unique bacterial assemblage may confer an advantage to the youngest members of the household,’ if they are at risk for developing asthma.

A study published July 9th in the journal “Pediatrics” comes to a similar conclusion and gives parents more reasons to consider bringing a pet into baby’s life. Researchers from Finland and Germany followed 397 Finnish children from the third trimester of pregnancy through their first 12 months. Parents kept weekly diaries and filled out a questionnaire when the babies turned one.

The scientists found that children in homes with dogs had fewer respiratory tract symptoms or infections than children in dog-free environments. They had fewer middle-ear infections and needed fewer courses of antibiotics.

Cats had a protective effect on respiratory health as well, though not as much as dogs. Both reduced the risk of gastroenteritis.

Dogs who spent less than six hours inside were the best health allies. The study’s authors speculated it might be because the dogs bring more dirt inside. That could increase the bacterial diversity children are exposed to, which might boost their immune systems.

Earlier studies linked asthma symptoms with pet ownership. This report’s authors suggest those studies may have included older children not exposed in the first year of life.

The researchers don’t claim pet ownership is a panacea. Bringing a dog into a house with an asthmatic or allergic child, for instance, could trigger sever reactions.

It looks as if that first year is the crucial time, while the body’s defense system is still maturing. As always, more research is needed to confirm the results, but it appears Fido just might make the difference to baby’s long-term health.

Related Care2 Stories

Dogs Can Be Your Asthma-Prone Baby’s Best Friend

Dog Protects Abandoned Baby

Dog and Baby Play Tag (Watch the Video!)

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Fiona T.
Past Member 4 years ago

This is good as a teacher

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

adopt a doggy!

Winnie Rosaline
Winnie Rosaline5 years ago

I'm sure it have to mean 'get' a dog... and preferably by adoptions.

But really, you can't just get a dog or any other pets for your baby, they are not going to take care of them. It is the parents who will ended up with responsibilities, of the dog and the child. Take this into consideration.

janet T.
janet t5 years ago

do not say this!!! not all people are good dog owners!! Some people think you buy/adopt a dog and then just put him in the backyard and tie him to a tree. There is way too much of that in our neighborhood. Tell people that it is the equivalent of buying/adopting another child.

Cynthia G.
Cynthia G.5 years ago

Do not buy. Adopt and save a life!

Amber Beasley
Amber Beasley5 years ago

Kamryn M, I don't know about where you live, but in my city there are ALWAYS people trying to give dogs away. they're all over the newspapers and even at vet clinics (at the vet clinic I work at we have 3 dogs right now that we're trying to give away). I've never had to pay for a dog from a shelter or anywhere else, cause I've either found strays and taken them home or gotten them from people that really needed to give them away for some reason. and they generally like to give them to people with younger kids because that's what kids need and what dogs need.

Amber Beasley
Amber Beasley5 years ago

I agree with the article, I DON'T agree with the title that says "BUY a dog" I don't think the writer of the article really meant anything by it, but I still think it should say "get a dog" or "adopt a dog".

Milkah Savage
Past Member 5 years ago

Adopt a dog and the joy it brings you and your angel will be on going.....

Kelvin L.
Kelvin L.5 years ago


Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch5 years ago

Spay Neuter, Adopt!

I strongly urge for everyone who have children, to get an animal. The learning experiences that are taught by having the love, and compassion for another living being, can only increase these strengths as your children become adults.