Icon WebMD Expert Blogs

This blog has been retired.


The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, review, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have... Expand

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatments or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource, but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Dogs Can be Baby’s Best Friend, Too

By Roy Benaroch, MD

Dog and Baby

A study published this week in the journal Pediatrics is good news for dog lovers everywhere. Babies growing up in homes with dogs get sick less often

Finnish researchers studied the families of about 400 babies over the first year of life, tracking their health status with weekly questionnaires. They found that babies growing up with dogs in the home were sick less often, needed fewer courses of antibiotics, and had fewer ear infections. Overall, babies with no dogs were reported as healthy about 65% of the time, compared to 73% for those living with one or more dogs. The presence of cats, on the other hand, made little difference.

The authors speculate that the protective effect of dogs could be because families in dog-oriented households tend to spend more time outdoors. Also, dogs tend to track around some dirt and bacteria, which may provide some protective effects. Other research has confirmed that early animal exposures can reduce the risk of allergic disorders in addition to the infectious illnesses studied in this report.

Healthy dog ownership does require some care from parents. As toddlers explore, they need to be taught how to approach a dog safety. Kids should know not to bother a dog that is sleeping or eating, and not to approach strange dogs outside without asking an adult first.

So give your dog an extra treat. In addition to chasing mice and barking at strangers, your family pooch can help keep your children healthy. That’s something to wag about!

Photo: iStockphoto

Posted by: Roy Benaroch, MD, FAAP at 7:37 am

Subscribe & Stay Informed

Parenting and Children's Health

Get the Parenting & Children's Health newsletter and get useful parenting tips and health news you need to keep your little ones happy & healthy.


WebMD Health News