Woof! A new study to be published in the journal Pediatrics next month shows that living in a home with a dog or cat can reduce the risk of sniffles, colds, and possibly allergy development in infants' first year of life.
Reasearchers aren't totally certain about why these furry friends (dogs even more so than cats) boost babies' immune systems, but they suspect it has to do with the infants' early exposure to pet dander and the microbes animals bring in from the environment. The tots bodies seem to adapt to and defend against allergens and icky cells rather than developing allergies or poor immune defense to them. How cool is that?!
Tons of other research has shown the positive effects of pets, from lowering blood pressure to boosting mood and exercise levels.
I've gotta run and walk my four-legged friend, Sully, now. On that note... ponder the benefits of pets (and which kind to get!):