Study: Babies Who Grow Up With Pets Are Healthier

(CBS News) – New parents with dogs and cats sometimes consider giving pets away when a baby arrives, but a new study finds keeping the furry family members in tow may boost a child’s health benefits.

A Finnish study finds babies who grow up with pets – especially dogs – are less likely to develop colds and other respiratory infections by the time they’re toddlers.

The study, published online July 9 in Pediatrics, tracked 397 kids in Finland from before they were born until they turned 1-year-old. Weekly questionnaires were given to parents that asked about their child’s health and whether they owned a pet.

The researchers determined that 245 of the babies had a dog in the home (62 percent) and 136 babies (34 percent) had cat contact. By study’s end, 65 percent of children lived in homes without a dog and almost 76 percent lived in a cat-free home, so not everyone with a pet had it throughout the entire study.

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