Family dogs can help prevent babies from getting sick

Posted at 4:28 PM, Dec 15, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY - New research suggests that having a family dog can help a baby's immune system and prevent them from getting sick.

Carl Arky with the Human Society of Utah says dog owners often give their pets to the humane society because they're expecting or have just had a new baby and are worried that a dog will make a house dirtier.

But a study out Finland says that keeping dogs in the house can actually help a baby's immune system.

Researchers followed a group of 400 infants over a three-year period, with one group having dogs in their home and the other having no pets.

The study found that babies who'd lived in a home with a dog were 31 percent more likely to be in good health than babies in homes without dogs; babies with dogs in the house are less likely to have ear infections, respiratory issues and illnesses.

Arky says the study is good for the Humane Society; if more people know about the findings, they may be more likely to keep their dogs around when a new baby joins the household.