This just in! You know that gross dog that hangs around your house licking stuff and pooping like it's a full-time job (hey, dog—IT ISN'T)? That idiot dog is totally the reason that your idiot baby doesn't have an idiot ear infection right now. At least according to this new batch of dog science. Take it away, dog science! Bark bark bark!
Sayeth the Wall Street Journal:
One measure showed children with dogs were reported as being healthy for about 73% of the time, based on weekly questionnaires, compared with about 65% of children with no dog contact at home.
...One theory is dogs that spend a lot of time outside likely bring more dirt and bacteria inside the home compared with dogs and cats that spend more time indoors, she said. Researchers believe that exposure to dirt and bacteria builds up babies' immune systems.
The jury's still technically out on this whole dog-baby-healthiness-index ("earlier studies using smaller samples of children have shown conflicting results on the impact of animal exposure on infections and allergies"), but it doesn't seem particularly far-fetched (get it? "Fetched"? DOG JOKE).
And god, that is like my favorite medical fact of all time—the one where dirty babies are the most robust because they're exposed to dirt and bacteria so they have a chance to actually grow immune systems. It's so counterintuitive and yet SO INTUITIVE at the same time. Like, obviously parents of kids with immune deficiencies and whatnot should keep an eyeball on what their precious littles get into, but everybody else? Throw those children into the dung heap posthaste! This is why, when I'm a parent, I'm hiring a forlorn St. Bernard in a sexy French maid costume (WTF, BTW) to be my children's nanny/slave. It's the only way.
Photo credit: feedough / Stockfresh.