As new parents, many of us make the honest mistake of thinking that a completely sterile environment is best. As a result, overcleaning and the overuse of antibacterial cleaners has actually bred new resistant bacteria and research shows that being too clean may actually increase the risk of allergies and other conditions.
An overriding fear of germs often causes parents to avoid having pets while their kids are young (dogs love tracking mud and other dirty delights into a just-sanitized home). But there’s no need to avoid pets. In fact, dogs and cats may not just provide your family with love and companionship—they could also have health benefits to kids!
Research in the journal Pediatrics shows that kids who live in a household with a pet during the first year of their lives are more likely to be healthier, compared with kids who don’t.
Here are the interesting details, according to the research: Children who had a dog during their first year of life had 31 percent fewer respiratory tract infections than kids who didn’t live with a dog. And kids from dog-owning homes had 44 percent fewer ear infections than kids from non dog-owning homes—and needed fewer antibiotics.
Cats also seemed to have a beneficial effect on kids’ health, but not as strong as dogs. So go ahead and let your whole family know the awesome affection that comes with having a pet!
And follow California Baby’s Kids + Pets board on Pinterest for a sweet celebration of the love between little ones and pets: