"There are all kinds of studies that prove as we get older that pets improve our quality of life, help with blood pressure, decrease loneliness, decrease depression," said Dr. Denise Roche, a veterinarian.
And now there's another benefit to add to that list-- your health.
"It goes back to what they call the hygiene theory. Basically if you look at statistics by people who grew up in India or Third World impoverished countries, they don't have allergies and asthma," said Dr. Gregory Lux, an allergist.
Lux says the dirtier the house, the dirtier the environment, the busier your immune system is. And guess what?
"Pets are tending to make our homes dirty!" Lux said.
Mom and pet owner Amanda Wake says she has seen a difference since having a dog.
"The first couple months when I brought him home I obviously kept the pets separated. During that time I found that they had more upper respiratory infections, but since they've gotten a little bit bigger and I've let a lot of dogs have contact with them, it doesn't seem like they're as sick," Wake said.
Roche says kids typically live in a clean environment, especially with all the anti-bacterial products out there.
"As kids are growing up, they're actually getting exposed to things outside that maybe normally they wouldn't. A lot of children are growing up in a more or less isolated environment now and they're not going outside and playing, they're playing with video games," Roche said.
Lux says the bottom line is that the type of bacteria that pet bring in from the outside has beneficial effects on the immune system, keeping kids from becoming allergic to things.
"So if your immune system is challenged on a daily basis to low-grade bacteria, your immune system is busy and occupied and doing things healthy, and so you don't develop the incidental allergies that seem to be occurring in civilized, highly vaccinated populations," Lux said.
So you could be doing your kids a favor just by getting a pet.
Putting away the hand sanitizer and wipes could also help prepare their bodies at a young age to help them ward off allergies and disease, too.
Saturday, December 7 2013 9:24 AM EST2013-12-07 14:24:20 GMT
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Saturday, December 7 2013 9:12 AM EST2013-12-07 14:12:35 GMT
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Saturday, December 7 2013 8:32 AM EST2013-12-07 13:32:27 GMT
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Saturday, December 7 2013 7:51 AM EST2013-12-07 12:51:22 GMT
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Friday, December 6 2013 11:16 PM EST2013-12-07 04:16:55 GMT
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over. The incident happened on Route 105 in Berkshire late Friday afternoon. AuthoritiesMore >>
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Friday, December 6 2013 10:03 PM EST2013-12-07 03:03:22 GMT
In Dorset, a car crashed into a bank and there was no drive-through lane.The car jumped the curb in front of the Berkshire Bank Friday morning, taking out a railing and getting hung up on the front steps.More >>
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Friday, December 6 2013 10:01 PM EST2013-12-07 03:01:17 GMT
The longtime bookkeeper at Cold Hollow Cider Mill is expected to plead guilty to embezzling from the business and a local youth hockey program.Cold Hollow in Waterbury is one of Vermont's top tourist attractions.More >>
The longtime bookkeeper at Cold Hollow Cider Mill is expected to plead guilty to embezzling from the business and a local youth hockey program.More >>