Dogs: a source of protection for babies’ infections

- Pakistani

Dog is considered a faithful pet animal. The pet dogs’ population grew significantly after World War II as suburbanization increased. In the 1950s and 1960s, dogs were kept outside more often than they tend to be and were functional, acting as a guard, children’s playmate, or walking companion.

From the 1980s, there have been changes in the role of the pet dog, such as the increased role of dogs in the emotional support of their owners. People and dogs have become increasingly integrated and implicated in each other’s lives, to the point where pet dogs actively shape the way a family and home are experienced.

In America a study was conducted which results that those babies who spend time around pet dogs have fewer infections and respiratory ailments than those who have no pet dog in their homes.

The study reveals that spending most of time around dogs encourages children’s immune system during the first year of life. The research was based on 397 children in Finland whose parents have record of each week about their child’s health during the infant’s first year, from nine weeks to 52 weeks of age.

Overall, babies in homes with dogs were about 30 per cent less likely to have respiratory infectious symptoms which included cough, wheezing, rhinitis and fever and about half as likely to get ear infections.

The study led by experts at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland said “If children had dog or cat contacts at home, they were significantly healthier during the study period,” The study shows that inspite of other factors that promote ailments of respiration, when children were kept around the dogs their conditions remained improved. Along with these children needed to take fewer antibiotic courses as compared to other children.

Here this study’s results have conflict with some other studies that show there seems no protection against ailment while keeping the young children around the pet dogs. In response of this issue the author of the study said that this research only focuses on the children of first year  from their birth.
This is interesting and very useful information for those who like to keep dogs as pets. In Pakistan most of the people do not like to keep dogs as pets whereas in UK most people like them and considered them as friends.