At some point, your child will inevitably ask you if you can get a dog for them. But if you’re hesitant to do so, consider these science-backed benefits of owning a dog, some of which many parents may not realize. Here are just a few ways being around them puts kids at an advantage:
Kids Get More Play And Exercise
Play and exercise are both vital for happy, healthy and productive children. But, thanks to modern technology, most kids don’t get the level of physical activity their developing bodies require.
The trick might be to get them a dog. Research suggests that owning a pup increases the amount of exercise that kids do by around 11 minutes per day compared with those who don’t have a dog, translating to around an hour of extra movement per week, which is a lot.
Kids Have More Emotional Intelligence
Dogs are also great for teaching children about the benefits of having emotional intelligence. When children have to look after a dog, they must take on new responsibilities. They must also be as gentle as they can be so that they don’t cause the animal any harm or distress. Children see that dogs have moods and feelings just like they do. Paying close attention to dogs helps kids build their powers of empathy.
Being a caring person may also improve kids’ self-worth, according to some studies. Just accomplishing small tasks, such as filling up a dogs’ bowl with food, can have long-lasting positive effects on their well-being.
Kids Have Fewer Allergies
These days, kids have more allergies than they have ever had at any point in history. But why is this? Partly, it is because their immune systems aren’t getting the kind of stimulation they need to respond healthily to infections that they face.
Dogs, however, are excellent carriers of beneficial bacteria and compounds that allow children’s immune systems to develop properly. Studies show, for example, that children who live with pets during the first year of life tend to fare better than those who don’t. Likewise, living with dogs also appears to reduce the incidence of immune-mediated skin issues.
Allergy studies show that when kids live with dogs, asthma attacks are less severe or don’t happen at all. However, children who get dogs after the age of 1 don’t typically show any benefits.
Kids Learn Responsibility
Learning responsibility is part and parcel of owning a dog. Kids must get used to the idea that taking care of another being is a critical component of being a successful person. It is a very different type of responsibility from doing chores.
Children must do all sorts of things for household pets. Possible tasks include walking, feeding, training and helping wash the dog. They must also do these things regularly, again and again, to ensure that their animals remain happy and healthy. The more they do these things, the more reinforced it will become for them. Your children might enjoy giving the dogs treats that can help the dog stay healthy, such as hemp dog treats.
Marette Flora is the founder of Floradise blog and personalized gift shop. Marette is a passionate storyteller and creator. She attended the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication.
She is passionate about creating helpful and meaningful things.