Owning a dog definitely brings a lot of joy into their owners’ life. There is also a lot of evidence that shows children especially benefit in many ways from growing up with a dog in their family.
1. Happier Children
Serotonin and dopamine, which soothe the mind and improve mood, are increased when you play with a dog. Research indicates that having a dog can reduce stress, and general mood is enhanced. Kids feel happier as soon as they engage with a dog as it’s usually happy to see them and keen to play. A recent study found that children with dogs in the home had reduced anxiety levels and the amount of perceived stress was lower. Hugging your dog can also help you to feel relaxed and happy.
Another study discovered that when asked who they would turn to with a problem, kids frequently name their pet. According to the study, “Pets can give people a sense of unconditional acceptance, whereas fellow humans will judge and possibly condemn.”
According to several studies, children who communicate with pets—whether by praising them, giving them directions, or simply babbling—show increased cognitive development. Children can even practise reading to dogs – both benefit from the interaction, and it encourages the child to continue reading aloud regardless of making mistakes.
2. More Exercise
Dogs and kids love to have fun at all hours of the day so encourage them to play together – whether it’s a game of tug of war with a rope, fetching a ball in the backyard, or even just a gentle rumble together on the floor, play time is a great way to bond together and interact while also getting in some exercise.
Walking your dog also gets the adults out of the house and encourages your kids to join you for a fun adventure exploring the neighbourhood.
Children who live with a dog in the house exercise an additional 11 minutes per day on average than children who do not. Even though those minutes don’t seem like much, they add up to 5.5 hours every month and 66 hours annually!
3. Learning Responsibility
Taking care of a dog helps kids to learn responsibility by thinking about the needs of others. They can help by making sure the dog gets fed and has fresh water every day, assist with bathing and grooming, pick up after the dog, and check that it has a quiet comfy place to sleep. Looking after a pet helps children understand that we all have essential needs for our well-being and teaches the value of contributing to the shared responsibilities of home life.
4. Increased Emotional Intelligence
Everyone is familiar with IQ, but have you thought about boosting your child’s EQ (emotional intelligence)? Children who grow up with a dog tend to have better emotional intelligence. In a study on classroom pets, a teacher who took part remarked, “Having pets is an invaluable assistance for helping the students grow pride, care, and understanding for the needs of themselves and others.”
Children can learn important social skills from dogs. It helps them regulate their impulses and raises their self-esteem. Dogs can also help kids with socialising skills since other people and dogs are much more likely to approach them while they are out and about with the dog. Interaction with a dog encourages children to be generous and patient with both animals and other people.
5. Reduced illnesses and allergies
In addition to the apparent advantages of being more active and spending more time outside when playing with a dog, numerous studies have revealed that kids who own dogs may be less likely to get illnesses and develop allergies.
Children who lived with pets (but especially dogs) throughout their first year of life had a better immune system than those who did not, according to recent studies in paediatric health. The study showed that growing up around dogs may have helped their immune systems mature more quickly. Additionally, compared to children who did not live with dogs, they required a shorter course of antibiotics when they were sick.
In another study, it was shown that dogs may also safeguard kids who are susceptible to eczema. In fact, children with dog allergies who did not live with dogs had a fourfold increased risk of developing eczema compared to those who did.
6. Dogs Boost Quick Thinking
Dogs have a variety of unique psychological effects on people, but one of the more interesting effects is that owning a dog helps people learn to think quickly. Many kids lack this ability unless they have practised and have a general need for it.
Kids must frequently make snap decisions when taking care of a pet! This will apply to situations at school and with friends (or even in sports).
7. Established Routine
Dogs and children both thrive on routine, so having a dog in the household can help children to learn to work within a daily flow that is not just focused on themselves (or feel like it is dictated by their parents). Having a general order in the day that includes the dog’s activities such as feeding and walking, helps kids to understand the basic elements of a routine and encourages them to complete their own activities as part of the family’s habits.