As a dog owner, you’re probably already aware of the numerous benefits our friendly pals provide for us: loyalty, companionship, someone to exercise with, and of course that whole being a best friend thing.
But did you know that owning a dog also provides a lot of benefits for your kids, too?
In this post by the parenting blog Maternity Glow, we learn 15 research-backed benefits for kids when the family brings a dog into the home.
The post is full of interesting nuggets, but here are a few our favorite benefits that are outlined in the post:
- Dogs teach kids all about responsibility: when your kids have to help walk, bathe, and feed the dog, they are learning the important skill of taking care of another living creature.
- Dogs help the immune system: there was one study which showed that babies which are raised in a dog-owning home are less susceptible to colds and respiratory infections.
- Dogs keep kids exercising: too many kids these days would rather sit home on the couch playing video games; if your family has a dog, though, it gives your children a great excuse to get outdoors and keep them active.
So, yeah: not only is owning a dog good for you and your spouse, it’s great for your kids, too!
In this guide, we’ve laid out 15 reasons (with research!) why you should give your child a dog today!
#1. Dogs Can Help An Only Child
Not planning on having more than one child? Get them a dog. Studies have shown that when an only child receives a dog, they tend to feel less lonely and view their pet as a sibling.
They learn how to “share” their parents’ time and their own space, they learn to be respectful to another living thing, to be kind, and to be loving; just as they would with a sibling.
#2. Dogs Teach Responsibility
Not wanting to constantly walk the dog, groom it, and feed it? No worries, your kids will do that for you. Dogs teach kids all about responsibility and how hard, but necessary it is to care for another living thing.
It will help children learn to take initiative, remain grounded, and teach them that another living thing depends on them.
#3. Dogs Build Up The Immune System
Kids who live with dogs tend to get less sick throughout their lives. And, one study shows that babies who are brought into a home that already contains a dog are less susceptible to respiratory infections, or colds.
Dogs bring in different kinds of “germs” and bacteria that a child’s system learns to build defenses against, which helps them fight off other illnesses and immune threatening dangers as they grow.
#4. Dogs Offer Protection
When you have a dog in your home, you can bet on a reduced chance of a break in or robbery. Dogs are great for protecting against robbers and are always on guard, ready to bark or defend their family since they are very protective-especially of kids in the house.
Robbers are less likely to strike because they know a dog will warn their owner, attack them, or significantly reduce their chance of making off with goods.
#5. Dogs Keep Spirits High
The number of children who are diagnosed with depression is concerning today. But studies show that owning a dog can decrease the chance your child develops this illness.
Owning a dog reduces tension and improves one’s mood overall. Because dogs are always happy to see their family, it’s pretty hard for kids not to smile and feel in a better mood as soon as they walk through the door.
#6. Dogs Keep Kids Active
Worried that your kids are not in their healthiest state? Get a dog. Dogs need to be walked regularly, and your child will reap all the health benefits that your dog is by getting by taking walks with them.
Kids also love to run and play fetch with dogs, so they get an added dose of exercise without even knowing it? It’s a fun way for their bodies lose weight if needed; or ensures they maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives.
#7. Dogs Teach Children Unconditional Love
Children will learn to love unconditionally when they have a dog. And, they will learn this lesson much quicker than a child who does not have a pet to care for or rely on.
When kids are able to recognize this powerful concept, they are able to effectively apply it to other people and children they encounter on a daily basis, and even later in life.
#8. Dogs Teach Selflessness
Your child may have been a bit selfish prior to owning a dog. But, once a dog arrives, they quickly learn it’s not “all about them.”
Besides teaching responsibility, dogs teach kids that others need to be taken care of since they can’t take care of themselves.
#9. A Dog At Home Builds Confidence
If you want to raise a confident child, give them a dog. It has been shown that dog owners who have an attachment to their pet have a stronger attachment to their environment and community, making them more comfortable with where they are and eventually who they are.
So, if you notice your child needs to break out of their shell, a playful dog may be the way to get them to loosen up.
#10. Dogs Help With Speech Development
If your child has a developmental delay, like late speech, a dog may help them begin to speak out. Kids will want to try to give their dog simple commands and call their name. Not to mention, they are sure to bust out and laugh with joy while they’re playing together.
Think of a dog as a way to “open the flood gates.” Once they begin to attempt or master basic phrases, they will gain more confidence and understanding of the spoken word.
#11. Dogs Help Improve Social Skills
Not all kids are outgoing. But, studies show that children who are around a dog tend to be more social.
This can help your child make friends, keep friends, and become more extroverted in a group situation.
#12. Dogs Are Smart For Your Heart
According to the American Heart Association, owning a dog may help everyone in your family by decreasing the risk of developing heart disease.
Because you will be walking your dog as a family, you’ll all gain more exercise. And, you’ll develop a strong bond with your pet, which decreases stress (more exercise and less stress = a healthier heart).
#13. Dogs Listen!
Certain breeds of dogs are ideal if you feel your child needs a companion, mainly for social and health reasons. Dogs listen! They serve as a great friend and lend an ear if your child feels frustrated, sad, or is going through a difficult time in their life.
Even for adults, the simple act of verbalizing your feelings to a dog will help take burden and stress off your mind and will allow you to lay everything out on the table, without getting any backlash.
#14. Dogs Are Just Like Kids
Studies show that dogs and kids are very similar. In fact, scientists believe the brain of a dog and the brain of a child are nearly identical.
So, a dog is a great way to keep your child engaged at home, and give them an instant friend. Because they’re just like kids, your own kids will understand how to handle them and will instantly be drawn to them.
#15. Dogs Improve Fast Thinking
Dogs have many fascinating psychological effects on humans, but one in particular is the ability to develop the ability to think on your feet. This is a skill that many children lack unless they have practice and an overall need to.
When caring for a pet, kids have to make decisions daily, and sometimes instantly! This will cross-over into school and situations with friends (or even in sports).
So, are you convinced your child needs a dog? There are numerous, research-based benefits that support adding a furry friend to your family.
Yes, they shed, they bark, they drool, and sometimes stink, but providing a home for a dog is one of the most rewarding and special things you can do for yourself, your kiddos, and your health.
Should you have any questions regarding this blog post, please contact Jessica at [email protected]
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