Everyone knows that dogs are man’s best friend but results from a recent study published this week online and next month in Pediatric medical journal show that your pup could be baby’s best friend, too! This study, conducted in Finland on nearly 400 babies, found that children who live with dogs and cats during the first year of their lives may be healthier and less susceptible to ear infections and respiratory infections, such as the common cold. Exposure to dogs showed the most significant results, but cats conveyed some protection as well. “The children having dogs at home were healthier, they had less ear infections and they needed less antibiotics,” said Eija Bergroth, the study’s lead author and a pediatrician who worked at Kuopio University Hospital, in Finland, at the time of the study.
This research was conducted by having parents fill out weekly diaries with complete information on their baby’s health and what contact they had with dogs and cats. The study began in the mother’s 3rd trimester and ran until the baby’s first birthday. One measure of the study showed that children with dogs were reported as being healthy for 73% of the time, compared to 65% of children with no pets or contact with pets at home. Overall, babies with cats or dogs are about 30% less likely to have respiratory infection symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, runny nose, and fever. They are also 44% less likely to get ear infections and 29% less likely to need antibiotics.
The reasoning behind these findings is that the dirt and germs a dog brings into the house may cause the baby’s immune system to mature faster, which makes it better against fighting off the viruses and bacteria that cause respiratory problems and help keep the child from developing asthma and allergies. The results support the theory that keeping infants’ environments overly sanitized isn’t good for their health. While this is great news for households who are dog and cat owners, it’s not good news for everyone – Children who have asthma shouldn’t be in homes with dogs or cats because the dander can negatively affect their condition. The bottom line is while you shouldn’t get a pet expressly to protect your child from colds, you don’t need to worry about getting rid of your dog or cat based on the fear that they will do harm by nuzzling your newborn.
The 2012 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race made way on March 4th, with sixty-six teams at the start line and twelve teams later scratching. Traditionally the Iditarod begins north of Anchorage, Alaska and ends in Nome, Alaska under the well-known burled-arch finish line. Mushers and their teams of trained sled dogs travel the nearly 1,000-mile race through Alaska, bearing through harsh weather conditions in tough terrains with hopes of being the first team to reach the western Bering Sea coast. The Iditarod gains world-wide news coverage, drawing in journalists and film crews from various countries and is dubbed as “The Last Great Race On Earth” due to its longevity and challenging circumstances. On March 13th the 40th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race of 2012 unveiled its youngest winner to date, 25-year-old Dallas Seavey, who faced steep competition against all the other talented teams, including two of which were led by Seavey’s father and grandfather. Dallas Seavey began the race on his birthday alongside his talented team of nine sled dogs, five of which were lead dogs; all of them playing their own important role that helped lead them into victory. Seavey recalls losing a few hours near a checkpoint in Rohn to remove sled dog, Guinness’, dog booties for better traction, and although it slowed down the team momentarily, they were still able to pull through on top, winning Seavey $50,400 and a new truck. Dallas Seavey spoke highly of his competitors, stating, “They had phenomenal teams out there. I’m very impressed with those guys and excited to race with them in future years.”
Tuesday’s victory at the 136th Westminster Kennel Club dog show went to Malachy, a four-year-old Pekingese. It’s been twenty-two years since a Pekingese stole the show, and this year Malachy beat out a Dalmatian, a Dachshund, a German Shepherd, and three other canines for the win at the impressive annual event. The crowd at Madison Square Garden arena cheered in approval when Malachy was announced as the winner; Judge Vogels stated, “He (Malachy) was spectacular.” Weighing in at just eleven pounds, Malachy the Peke gathered quite a favored stir from the crowd with his fluffed silver and white fur that perfectly framed his adorable black face and happy pink tongue. This pristine pooch is no stranger to wins; he has an outstanding record of 115 best-in-show titles under his belt! While the winner of Westminster does not walk away with any prize money, they do gain a coveted silver bowl, lifetime recognition (along with bragging rights), as well as opened opportunities for prosperous breeding. Congratulations to Malachy and his owner for a successful show!
The Super Bowl XLVI went to the New York Giants, and according to Pavone’s annual online poll for favored Super Bowl commercials, the top three ads featured dogs. Canine commercials proved to be a great way to advertise, beating out over fifty other ads that used celebrities and beautiful women to market said products. There is no denying a fun commercial with a cute dog, and since many Americans own a dog, using a pooch as the brand’s selling point draws in interest from dog loving viewers. Based off of the Spotbowl.com votes, the top three Super Bowl commercials were:
1. Volkswagen “Slim Dog” – Volkswagen did it right this year, coming in number one with over 100,000 votes and featuring Bolt the dog, a chubby canine who notices the new Volkswagen Beetle outside and loses weight in order to chase the car. The ad ends with Star Wars characters viewing the commercial from a galaxy far, far away.
2. Doritos “Bribe” – The second favored Super Bowl commercial went to Doritos, which also featured a dog as the product’s selling point. In this ad, the family cat, Fluffy, goes missing and a large dog uses Doritos chips to bribe a man on keeping quiet, stating, “You didn’t see nuttin”.
3. Bud Light “Weego” – This clever commercial by Bud Light featured a dog named Weego who fetched beer on command to anyone who said “Here Weego”, which is a play off the product’s catch phrase “Here we go”.