Family pet could help raise healthier children

July 9, 2012

A new study finds children who lived with furry pets their first year of life got sick less frequently than children in pet-free zones.

The study in the journal Pediatrics provides fresh evidence that an overly clean environment may not be ideal for babies.

European researchers tracked the health of hundreds of children from Finland. Those with dogs were 44-percent less likely to develop ear infections and 29-percent less likely to have used antibiotics their first year.

Researchers suspect pets help stimulate the immune system to do a better job of fighting off illness.

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