For parents on the fence, this new research might make you finally agree to that puppy. It turns out that children growing up with dogs are less likely to suffer mental health issues.
My 7 year old son has been asking for a puppy for years! We live in an apartment and our building does not allow any pets. But we are thinking about moving to a house soon, and I know my son will really want his puppy then.
Should we get a dog? I have been thinking about this for a while now.
So, I started doing some research about the pros and cons of having a dog. And it turns out that a dog can bring health benefits to the family! Off course having a dog means a lot of work and responsibility. But I also think it is part of everyone’s childhood. And at the same time, I think it can teach kids to start being responsible by taking care of a new member in the family.
Children Growing Up With Dogs Are Less Likely To Suffer Mental Health Issues
Children who have a dog to cuddle up with at night, talk to, and play with every day are less likely to suffer from anxiety, a new study published in the Journal Preventing Chronic Disease suggests.
Researchers from Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, New York, set out to find out if having a four-legged friend in the house could do more for your kids than just be a furry playmate. To do so, the researchers asked parents of children aged four to 10 who came in for well-child visits to answer a questionnaire about health related topics, among them pets in the home, before the checkup.
The researchers formed two study groups based on the answers, one with children who had a pet dog at home and the other with kids who did not have pups.”We studied children with dogs because that was the most common pet and allowed us to collect a large sample of children,” research scientist and study author, Dr. Anne Gadomski, explains to CBS News.
The study included 370 kids with dogs and 273 kids who didn’t have one. Among the 58 percent of children with a dog, 12 percent tested positive on a screening test for anxiety, compared with 21 percent of children who did not have a pet dog.
“What we actually found was children from homes with pet dogs had lower anxiety scores than children in homes with no pet dog,” says Gadomski.
And while she acknowledges that further studies are needed to determine cause and effect, Gadomski, who is a dog owner herself, said she finds it very interesting looking at pets and childhood mental health from a preventive health angle.
“Childhood anxiety is a huge mental health problem in the U.S. and anything we can do to mitigate anxiety or prevent its development would have a huge impact on the mental health system in the United States.”
As to why having a dog is beneficial to children’s health, Gadomski explains: “Interacting with a friendly dog also reduces cortisol levels, most likely through oxytocin release, which lessens physiologic responses to stress. These hormonal effects may underlie the observed emotional and behavioural benefits of animal-assisted therapy and pet dogs.”
Children growing up with dogs will definitely benefit. Basically, having a pup is like having your very own best friend and therapist, all rolled up in one furry package.
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