Let the fur fly! A new study shows that children who are born to a family with furry pets are more able to ward off illnesses.

This study, which will be published in next months' issue of Pediatrics, shows that babies who have more interaction with animals seem to have fewer respiratory issues and ear infections and need less medication, even when they are sick.

Babies who live with cats are protected (dander could actually help!), although babies who live around dogs are more protected. And kids living in homes where dogs are allowed outside often, seem to have the lowest risk of infections.

 Doctors say there's something about animals that affects an infant's immune system, which can protect against certain childhood infections.

Doctors speculate that the more a dog is outside, the more dirt (and microbes) it brings inside. And that somehow stimulates a child's immune system which could help them not just immediately but into their future.