If you have young children, dog ownership may reduce their risk of respiratory infections.
A Finnish study published in Pediatrics found that children under one year of age living in homes with dogs were 30 percent less likely to have such infections and 56 percent less likely to have ear infections than those without dogs. Cats had a smaller effect.
Exposure to animals (specifically certain allergens, bacteria and viruses they carry) may help speed the maturation of the immune system in infants, the researchers suggested.
This is consistent with research showing that children brought up on farms and around livestock have lower rates of asthma and allergies.