Jul 10, 2012

By Jane Brown

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Zoomers with pets can feel good about having their young grandchildren over for visits. 

Finnish researchers have found that having dogs or cats during infancy may actually protect children from respiratory illnesses during the first year of life.

They followed close to 400 children from the time their mothers were pregnant through age one.

The scientists found that those who were exposed to dogs at home had fewer respiratory illnesses or symptoms compared with children who didn’t have dogs.

Children with dogs also had less-frequent ear infections and needed antibiotics less often than children never exposed to dogs.

Cats offered similar protective benefits, but to a lesser degree.

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