Put Your Best Paw Forward

Article by: Deb D’Andrea

Shedding, My Fur Factory

When I was growing up, my parents always had dogs, cats, a snake or turtle, a spider or two, some fish and birds, and other random pets that came into our home.  Some stayed as our family pets, while others continued their journey on.  My first dog, Peppy and my first cat, Whiskers, were great companions to grow up with, always there by my side as we discovered our world together.  Little did I know that because of them, I was healthier.

July 9th, 2012 the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study, “Respiratory Tract Illnesses During the First Year of Life:  Effect of Dog and Cat Contacts.”  The first study of its kind, researchers followed 397 Finnish children during the first year of their life, and gathered each child’s health information using weekly diaries and a questionnaire.  Guess what the evidence suggested?  “Children having dogs at home were healthier than children with no dog contact.”

Turns out that contact with animals, especially dogs, early in a child’s life helps build our “immunologic system.”   What does that translate into?  Children around dogs experience reduced respiratory tract infections, have shorter infection durations, have fewer colds, less ear infections and need to take less antibiotics.  Households with cats also showed similar results, but households with dogs had more healthy weeks overall.

So what is it that dogs and cats have or do which help make us healthier?  Speculation is that they bring in bacteria and dirt from the outside which helps to build our immune systems.  Kids living in homes where dogs had outside time were illness-free 73 percent of the time; while kids in pet free homes were healthy 65 percent of the time.  That difference means fewer antibiotics and doctor visits!  In another study, researchers focused on children and pets and allergies.  This study demonstrated that children with dogs or cats during the child’s first year of life developed fewer allergies as they grew up.

Someone once said to me, ‘eat your two pounds of dirt a year to stay healthy,’ a rather odd thing to say, but now, there may be some truth to it!  If you would like to read the July 9th report, please email me and I’ll be happy to email it to you.

4TheLuvOfDogz ~ Making Tails Wag Better



Deb D’Andrea is Founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz.

Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or

email:  info@4theluvofdogz.com

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