‘Overall, babies in homes with cats or dogs were about 30 per cent less likely to have respiratory infectious symptoms – which included cough, wheezing, rhinitis (stuffy or runny nose) and fever – and about half as likely to get ear infections.
The most protective association was seen in children who had a dog inside at home for up to six hours a day, compared to children who did not have any dogs or who had dogs that were always outside.’
How does this work?
It has been hypothesised that an immune system under-exposed to pathogens (as in a child protected from all infection) will function less effectively.
Exposing a child to infection (in small doses, obviously) can kick-start the immune system into higher gear (so to speak) making it work better.
This is what exposure to a dog can do.
Why are dogs better then cats or say, guinea pigs?
No reason, I suspect. It is simply a matter of children having greater physical contact with dogs then with other pets.
So if you want to get your child to be healthier – buy a dog.