Households with dogs healthier for infants

The Wall Street Journal reports that a new study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that infants living in households with dogs may be healthier and have fewer early respiratory tract infections than those living in households without dogs.

The Journal adds that the researchers also found that cats may offer some protection as well, although the link was not as strong.

MedPage Today notes that “previous studies concerning the presence of animals in the home and childhood immunity have had conflicting results, with some suggesting that living with dogs can have favorable effects, while others found an increased risk for respiratory infections in children with pets.”

The article quotes the researchers as writing, “A better understanding of the interplay between pet-related exposures and the development of early respiratory tract infections may provide indirect insight regarding the factors affecting the maturation of the immune responses and its disturbances.”

Reuters also covers this story.

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