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6 Ways Pets Can Improve Your Health

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5. Benefits for Baby’s Immune System

Babies raised in families that have pets may be less likely to get allergies and asthma, some studies show.

It has to start early, ideally before a baby is 6 months old, says Beck.

Babies with dogs or cats at home have fewer colds and ear infections during their first year than babies living in pet-free homes, one study found.

6. Social Support for Autistic Children

Kids tend to relate better to their classmates who have autism when pets are in the classroom, Beck has found in his research.

"Animals change the classroom environment and help to integrate those who are a little less typical," Beck says. "Once the children get involved with animals, they view each other more positively and work together better."

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Reviewed on October 24, 2013

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