A recent study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that children who lived with dogs or cats during their first year of life got sick less frequently than kids from pet-free zones.
"Dogs they bring in the flora, the natural bacteria that's in the environment," said Pinar Nalcakan, with Cardinal Pediatrics. "They bring that in to the kids and expose it to them so they build these kind of super immunities, to these bacteria that they have in contact, where as if the dogs didn't bring these in they wouldn't."
The study followed nearly 400 babies to see if having a dog or cat would provide them any health benefits. They found kids who had a dog around for their first year of life were not only healthier overall but had fewer respiratory tract symptoms or infections than kids with no dog.
"I think just by having these constant exposures, it keeps the immune system constant on the guard, so when they have to be on the guard always, they build up these antibodies," said Nalcakan.
Cardinal Pediatrics stands behind this finding; and doctors and nurses said the types of germs animals carry into the house are different than "day care" germs.
"Kids and daycare, there's a lot of oral, everyone's putting things in their mouth," said Nalcakan. "So those are more of the natural germs that we come in contact with. If we had our hands in our mouth, simple viruses, bacteria that we come in contact with. These are actually from the environment, so these are more environmental."
Just another reason why dogs are also a baby's best friend.
Dogs can carry unwanted bugs like fleas and ticks; and of course, this study doesn't apply to kids who are allergic to animals. If you have a Moms In Motion idea, find me on Facebook, Twitter, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm always looking for new ideas!