A dog could be a baby's best friend, according to a study in the medical journal Pediatrics.
Infants living in households with dogs were healthier and had fewer ear infections than those without a dog, the study found. Researchers also found that cats appeared to offer some protection, but the link wasn't as strong.
The study, posted online Monday and based on 397 children who lived in rural and suburban parts of Finland, examined whether contact with dogs and cats during a baby's first year offers any protection from respiratory tract infections, such as colds and resulting common ear infections. "The children having dogs at home were healthier, they had less ear infections and they needed less antibiotics," said Eija Bergroth, the study's lead author and a pediatrician affiliated with Kuopio University Hospital in Kuopio, Finland.
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