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Family Matters

The Latest Health Perk of Owning a Dog

New research points to benefits of having a pet

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Sometimes referred to as "fur babies," pets give many future parents their first crash course in taking care of another living thing. And while an infant is a lot more work (okay, way more!), it turns out that owning a pooch can also benefit the health of your baby in even more ways than previously thought, according to a recent study.

We already knew that living with a pet can help prevent your child from developing allergies, but the latest pet perk is that they can strengthen immune systems during pregnancy. In a study conducted at the University of Alberta in Canada, more than 700 infants and moms were studied over the course of three years. Dogs were the primary pet choice among the families in the study, and researchers concluded that babies with a pup in their home (even just during pregnancy and before birth) had ruminococcus and oscillospira bacteria in their stool.

Why is this a good thing? Well, since those are linked to childhood obesity and allergies, it’s key that infants be exposed early on so they can fight these harmful strands as they grow up! Score another win for those wonderful fur babies.