Get this: Research from the University of Alberta in Canada shows that women with dogs have healthier babies. (We're assuming they're only studying the health of the baby, as the mental health of whichever parent steps in a little "present" from the dog first thing in the morning is probably not going to get high marks.)
How did researchers figure out that baby plus dog equals healthier baby? We'll do our best to explain.
Researchers analyzed more than 700 moms and their babies over a three-year period. The researchers examined whether or not the mother-baby pairs also lived in homes with pets that were present during the first three months of the infant's life. (Seventy percent of the pets were dogs. Sorry, cat people. We're sure there's some super-cute research out there for you too. Someday.)
The researchers then analyzed the babies' poop (really!). They found two very useful types of gut bacteria, oscillospira and ruminococcus (also linked with a fondness for Tilt-A-Whirls and a penchant for thinking too much in later life) in the stool of children who had exposure to household pets.
So what's the big deal? Well, oscillospira and ruminococcus have been negatively associated with childhood obesity and the probability of allergies — which means Maverick over there eating your thong underwear under the bed is actually a very good boy.
Here's more science-magic: The data also suggests that if there is a dog present consistently during a woman's pregnancy — but the dog is gone when the child is born — the benefits are still there. Still, please don't use this as an excuse to get rid of Maverick and his taste for your La Perla lace lingerie. He really is a good boy and is happy to keep you and your baby well-stocked with oscillospira and ruminococcus for the rest of his life, which is more than you can say for most people, are we right?
(Sometimes we just write things to make ourselves laugh. But the science is totally for real.)