Are your children tugging at your heart strings every time they ask for a puppy to come and live at your house, but you’re just not sure knowing how much of a commitment it is? Being an owner of a dog comes with big responsibility; bringing a dog into your family’s life is a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly – a dog really is for life. But, before you make that decision, here are the top ten reasons why having a dog is actually great for your children’s health and development.
1. It decreases allergies and strengthens their immune system
Scientific studies have discovered that children who grow up in homes with a a dog have stronger immune systems and are therefore less likely to develop childhood allergies and asthma. Children between the ages of four and 11 years old were tested for specific antibodies that help to fight off infection. Results proved that those children who did live with a dog had more of the antibodies and thus were better able to fend off infections such as colds and flu. In turn, this means these children, on average, had less days off school over the course of a year.
2. It encourages a healthy lifestyle
From walking the dog to playing with it in the back garden, having a dog as a member of your family inevitably leads to a healthier lifestyle for their young owners. Instead of sitting inside playing computer games or watching TV, they’ll be outside and running around.
3. It teaches responsibility
Whether it’s walking the dog, giving them their dinner, or making sure they always have water in their bowl, being the young owner of a dog teaches responsibility. Simple tasks such as these also prompt a real sense of achievement for children as well as helping them to develop care and empathy for others.
4. Dogs provide comfort and companionship
Whether children are feeling happy or sad, relaxed or agitated, it is easy for children to find support and security from their canine best friend. This often reduces feelings of anxiety and enable children to feel more engaged with their surroundings.
5. Owning a dog teaches the circle of life
Although it is only natural for parents to want to shield the cruel happenings in today’s world, owning a dog allows children to learn about the circle of life. A sad time in every dog lovers life, the death of the family pet can actually help children to learn to cope with other challenging and upsetting events in later life.
6. Dogs aid learning skills
Dogs are frequently used in schools by educational professionals as a form of therapy when helping children with developmental difficulties to learn. Research has proven that children feel more secure and confident reading to a dog then they do peers or teachers, viewing the dog as a non-judgemental friend. The same theory can be applied at home when completing homework and practicing reading out loud.
7. Maintains the family unit
Having a dog at home helps to cement the family unit and brings a feeling of closeness to everyday family life. Whether it’s taking the dog out for a walk or giving them a bath together, simple tasks allow families to enjoy spending time together and boosts communication with one another.
8. It lowers blood pressure
Once again, it has scientifically been proven that stroking and petting a dog reduces blood pressure and feelings of anxiety. This could come in very handy when it comes to your children battling with the stress of homework and exams.
9. It reduces loneliness
Being the proud owner of a dog has been proven to keep at bay feelings of loneliness. Conversely, children who are the young owner of a pet feel more socially engaged and content.
10. Fun, love and happiness
We’ve saved the best until last; most importantly owning a dog fills a family household with love, fun, happiness and years of enjoyment.