A lot goes into raising a family. From instilling morals and emotional intelligence to ensuring their children appreciate the advantages of an active lifestyle, parents have a demanding mission from the get-go. How might parents get a helping hand? Research shows owning a dog can do wonders for a child’s development. Below are some of the many ways kids can benefit from man’s best friend.
Dogs are a big responsibility. They require care and attention every day. Tending to another living being in this fashion may increase kids’ self-esteem . How? While children accomplish age-appropriate tasks, such as filling their pet’s water bowl or taking it on a daily walk, they fulfill a purpose and, thus, feel a sense of accomplishment and empowerment . It can also make them feel like part of a team.
Dogs could also enhance children’s self-esteem by being a loyal friend. As they come home from school, the pooch’s excitement to see them can give them a boost and maybe even turn around a bad day. What’s more, when a little one grows up inspired by a canine’s loyalty and unconditional love, it can translate to other relationships down the road.
Growing up alongside a dog may also impart a greater sense of empathy toward others. Such compassion stems from nurturing a dependent animal throughout its shorter life span. Pets bring much happiness to our lives. Though, at some point, there is loss. When children experience the grief of losing a dear friend, they can learn from it and grow emotionally.
Even before a child can help care for an animal, there are advantages to being in the same household. Studies have shown cognitive, behavioral and social skills are elevated in children who talk to their pets — even if it’s just babbling as a toddler. Faster rates of intellectual development have been found as well.
Babies can also benefit from a family dog health-wise. Pet dander and the canine’s natural bacteria have been found to positively impact a young one’s still-developing immune system . In fact, the rates of ear and respiratory tract infections were found to be lower among children living with a dog.
Have you ever felt your mood improve after cuddling with a pet? It’s not all in your head. Petting a dog has been proven to reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels. It can also go a step further by raising serotonin and dopamine levels. When these nerve transmitters are triggered, it leads to a feeling of calm and happiness. These same effects happen in kids.
While there could be potential problems with a dog, research has found the merits of ownership go beyond what we once thought. For additional benefits for the whole family, please see the accompanying resource.
Alec Hutchins is Chief Marketing Officer of Recherche Kennels – Bernes, a professional breeding and training facility. Recherche Kennels has over 10 years of experience breeding with top parent bloodlines and training puppies to be the perfect family pet.
Graphic created by Recherche Kennels – Bernes.