The Benefits of Having Pets Growing Up

As all of my patients know, I’m a HUGE dog person!  Growing up, I would always bombard my parents with any tidbit of information regarding the benefits of dogs − if only this study came out way back then.  It *only* took me 16 years to get my first dog, but my Dad finally made my annual birthday wish come true when he agreed to get me a Golden Retriever puppy for my 16th birthday.  Her name was Sandy, and I fell in love with her the second that I saw her amongst all of her siblings.

The Study Details

A Finnish study followed 400 children between the ages of 9 to 52 weeks, and asked the parents to fill out weekly diaries to record how much time the household pets would generally spend in the house and details on any infections the children experienced.  After one year, it was found that in comparison to children without any household pets, children who lived with dogs:

  • Were more likely to be overall healthier
  • Have less frequent middle ear infections
  • Have less need for antibiotics

Dogs are Better than Cats! (But we already knew that, right?!?)

Cats were also associated with similar protective effects, although their effects weren’t as strong as with dogs.

The Take-Away Message

The researchers speculated that pets could help speed up the maturation of the immune system in infants.  This leads to improved immunologic responses and shorter duration of infections.

So there it is Mom and Dad!  This is justification for giving me the best birthday ever − albeit a *tad bit* late.

A Personal Aside

The photo above is my current dog (Baylee) on the first day that she came home to us as a rescue puppy who was SUPER scrawny to the point where you could see her ribs through her fur.  She had a terrible cough that make her sound like a pack-a-day smoker.  And she was afraid of her shadow.  BUT she was the sweetest puppy who had a terrible start in life in Philadelphia.  She’s currently the love of my life!


If you’d like to sit down with me to discuss how I can create a customized treatment plan for you, CONTACT ME HERE to set up a complimentary 15 min discovery call/meeting and we can get started.

What’s a discovery call/meeting?  It’s where we get to know each other better to ensure that I’m the right practitioner for you and that you have the opportunity to ask your questions about Naturopathic Medicine before we move forward with an initial Naturopathic consultation.


Here are a few more posts on improving your immune system that you might also be interested in:








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