How Pets Can Strengthen Your Child’s Immune System

Researchers have discovered that having a cat or dog at home may cause more infections among children, however, it will also boost their immune system long term resulting in fewer sick school days. 
Having two or more pets in the house may also reduce your child’s risk of developing allergies by up to 50%. This applies to infants who are exposed to pet’s during their first year of life because this is a cruical time for developing their immune system. They are in fact exposed to more germs and infections which actually ends up increasing their immune system.

Make sense?

Here’s Lucas and Bubba- our Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. He’s really great with kids and he just adores them. He’s  looking forward to the day when Lucas can throw the ball for him. ( So am I!) He even helps offer support during tummy time! 

It’s even been shown that children who have “germ-a-phobia” parents, who are overally cautious about keeping clean, may actually be weakining their immune system instead of strengthening it. I definitely believe that. It often seems like the parents who work so hard and keeping their kids free of sickness, are often the ones who actually end up sick the most often. 

Along with strengthening your child’s immue system, pets are good for parent’s too! Studies connect dog and other pet ownership to higher mood levels, increase life span, and lower blood pressure.  The benefits of having a family pet outweigh the negatives in more way than one. 

Do you have a pet? How are they with your kids? 

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

13 thoughts on “How Pets Can Strengthen Your Child’s Immune System

  1. No, we don’t have any pets, but we do have a nephew who acts like an animal sometimes, and we try to keep him away from the baby as much as possible! Ha!!!

  2. I don't have kids, but i so totally agree.

    My mother was total germaphobe. She boiled the plastic underpants before using them on her babies! (Well, they didn't survive the boiling.) All three of us girls have a lot of allergies.

    She also believed in “better living thru chemistry,” & i continue to live with the results of that to this day.

  3. My kids would eat dirt if I didn’t draw the line somewhere, and they’ve only been sick a handful of days in all their lives. They’ve each had one ear infection, but not in years, and they caught colds a couple of times when students in public school. Other than that, they’ve not been sick — ever — which is honestly a shock to me.

    I have friends, though, who are super protective and very germ-conscious, and their kids are in and out of the pediatrician’s office at least once every other month. Sometimes more. I don’t know if there’s a connection, or if we’ve just been unusually fortunate.

    As for pets, we do have them and they’re great with the kids. Our dog seems to know just how to behave with each child. She jumps and roughhouses with our son, and lays calm and still for our more skittish daughter. It’s amazing how smart animals are and how they respond to their little masters.

    Love your blog, by the way. I’m new here and can’t wait to poke around some more.

  4. I read about this a while back. We have two cats and the kids seem to do fine around the cats. But my middle child does have outdoor allergies. I think she may be allergic to tree pollen. But not cat dander. Beautiful article! Thank you for sharing.

  5. we have a dog and three cats in the household right now. and they’ve been around since both my kids were born. however, both my kids are sick all the time with a cold, no idea? I have really bad allergies to animals, explains why im always cleaning!!!!

  6. The immune system is like a muscle. You have to train it and stretch it and use it in order for it to work.

    Kids in bubbles are the sickest of all.

    I don’t purposely expose my daughter to colds etc. But I do allow her to live a normal life!

    We have one dog, and they are inseparable!

  7. I am a firm believer in pets as an asset to a family. Unfortunately, just the opposite of what this post is saying happened to us. My first born had reactions to her 6 months vaccinations that triggered allergies which manifest in eczema. Our 7 year old indoor dog, Lars, was the main allergen for her with dairy coming in second. We had to put him outdoors after 9 years indoors as her eczema was getting too severe. He is 10 now and doing great. She still plays with him and breaks out, but not as much as before. It was not Lars that caused the allergies, but a vaccine reaction.
    I also agree with the germaphobe stuff. I think it is silly to worry about dirt, crumbs on the floor, etc… I believe I have 2 children with fairly strong immune systems because I don’t overuse sanitizers and I’m not afraid of simple illnesses.

  8. I’m a regular poster on this blog, but am keeping anonymous.

    To Kelli:

    How can a vaccine cause allergies?

  9. Interesting!! I have a 2 1/2 year old Border Collie who LOVES my baby. And I am also looking forward to when Lib can throw the ball for Maddie! Maddie already puts her toys in front of baby either wanting to share or hoping somehow she’ll throw them. 🙂

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