(WZZM) - Parents know the special bonds between children and the family dog or cat, but did you know that having a pet can actually help your child's health?
Researchers from Finland found that having dogs or cats during a child's infancy may protect them from respiratory illnesses during the first year of life.
According to the study, children exposed to dogs have fewer ear infections and need fewer antibiotics.
The researachers say cats provide similar protective benefits, but to a lesser extent.
The study did not include parents with allergies to dogs or cats.
Other research points out that children who grow up on farms and ranches have stronger immune systems later in life.