The moment a dog met their owner’s newborn baby daughter and immediately fell in love has been captured in heartwarming footage shared online.
Some new parents may be apprehensive about newborns coming into contact with dogs and other pets at an early age, but research suggests close contact of this kind may actually be beneficial.
A 2012 study conducted by pediatricians at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland found that exposure to cats and dogs actually helped lower the risk of babies catching a cough or cold during the first year of their life.
Researchers followed 397 children over their first 12 months, with parents keeping a log of their health and any symptoms experienced like coughs, runny noses or ear infections.
Scientists concluded that the babies who grew up with pets were 44 percent less likely to develop ear infections and 29 percent less likely to need antibiotics compared with those kids who grew up in pet-free environments.
Being around dogs appeared especially beneficial with babies brought up around canines found to be 31 percent more healthy than those without, compared with a 6 percent boost for those kids growing up with cats.
The benefits of introducing children to pets from an early age go beyond purely reasons of physical health though, as a video recently shared to TikTok by new mom Jenn Hillman demonstrates. It can be watched here.
The clip captures the magical moment she first introduced her newborn daughter to her pet dog—and the instant bond formed between the pair. In the clip, which has been viewed 3.5 million times, viewers can see how Hillman’s trusted canine was initially cautious when meeting the young child.
The baby too, with her eyes barely open and tucked up inside a carrier, is momentarily unsure, letting out a faint cry as the dog sniffs at her hands.
Any uncertainty over the encounter soon washes away, as the dog comes in for a closer sniff and affectionate lick of the newborn child’s face. She’s immediately calm again, content in knowing that the canine’s actions come from a place of love.
The uplifting encounter resonated with many dog lovers on social media, who were quick to show their appreciation for the footage.
One user, posting as czibolyae, described the footage as “touching,” noting that: “The dog looks at the baby as if it were his mother, with love.” Thatmumvibe agreed, writing: “That dog just fell in love.”
KayRic37 was similarly enamored with the video. “Look at that face just taking it all in falling in love,” they wrote. “They will be perfect together.” Gemma885 commented: “Aw the way the dog looks at her! So beautiful,” while Cait_Tato declared: “I will never get tired of watching animals meet babies.”
Naomi Kirk, meanwhile, was confident “They are going to be best friends,” with Demi Craik confessing: “I had a little tear in my eye” after watching the video.
A bright future beckons for this dog and baby combo—and the benefits go far beyond boosting the child’s physical health too.
According to Alexandra Anastasio at the American Kennel Club, one of the most “significant benefits” of establishing these kinds of bonds at an early age is that, quite simply put, “dogs make babies happy.”
Anastasio said it’s “been proven that interacting with dogs raises levels of serotonin and dopamine, the chemical building blocks of positive feelings” and are “also just fun to be around.”
Newsweek has contacted Hillman for comment.
Stock image of a newborn baby and a dog. A heartwarming video showing a dog’s first encounter with their owner’s newborn daughter has been melting hearts online.