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 pressureóin some cases more than drugs doóbut 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 havenít 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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William C
William Cabout a year ago

Thank you.

W. C
W. Cabout a year ago


Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla3 years ago

There are only advantages when raising kids with pets :)

Duane B.
.4 years ago

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

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Helen Wu
Helen Wu4 years ago

Thank You :)

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G4 years ago

All pets will improve health...

Victoria Stoma
Victoria Stoma4 years ago

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

Ernie Miller
william Miller4 years ago


Liling O4 years ago

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