Study: Pets Help Keep Babies Healthy!

July 10, 2012 Updated Jul 10, 2012 at 5:40 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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July 10, 2012 Updated Jul 10, 2012 at 5:40 PM EDT

(WKBW/Cleveland Clinic) It appears a dog is more than man's best friend! The animals are are also pretty good friends to babies!

A new Finnish study finds children who have a dog or a cat around during the first year of life are healthier and develop fewer respiratory infections.

Researchers in Finland followed nearly 400 babies to see if having a dog or cat would provide them any health benefits.

They found kids who had a dog around for their first year of life were not only healthier overall, but had fewer respiratory tract symptoms or infections than kids with no dog.

Fewer respiratory infections means fewer runny noses, fewer antibiotics and fewer visits to the doctor in the first year of life.

Cats provided similar benefits to babies, but not as strong as dogs.

Researchers say animal contact may help the baby's immune system mature.

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