Keeping your infant healthy could be as simple as snuggling up with the family pet: A Finnish study of nearly 400 children found that those living with dogs or cats tended to be healthier during their first year of life. Of the children in the study, those living with dogs developed 31 percent fewer respiratory tract symptoms, suffered 44 percent fewer ear infections and received 29 percent fewer antibiotic prescriptions in that first year than their canine-free peers. Having cats in the home had similar but less dramatic effects. Researchers speculate that the dirt pets bring into the house could strengthen children’s immune systems, but it could also just be the presence of the animals themselves.
Image of cat and girl via Shutterstock