A few days ago, we talked about the questions you should ask yourself when your 2-legged children decide they want a dog. It’s so important to make sure you, your family, and your lifestyle can support the addition of a dog to the household.
Yes, a dog is a lot of work but there’s no denying that kids who grow up with dogs reap a lot of benefits. In fact, check out this cute infographic below to see 25 benefits of growing up with pets that you may not have even considered. Thank you to Top Dog Tips for this great information!
1. Asthma and Allergies
Kids with pets have a lower risk of developing common allergies and asthma, according to a 10-year long Swedish study that analyzed data on over 1 million children.
2. More Activity
Kids with pets go outside more often for daily walks and exercise, and they have more playtime with the dog or a cat. A 2010 study from the University of London showed how kids in households with pets are likely to exercise more than those without pets. Other studies found similar results with disabled children and how dogs can help these kids to deal with their illnesses.
3. Heart Health
Growing up with dogs reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and improves blood circulation, according to more than one study from Harvard Health.
Turns out reduction in obesity doesn’t only apply to adults and senior citizens, but also kids. In fact, even babies who are exposed to pets through their early years are much less likely to become obese, according to a few studies.
Experts explain in a Washington Post article how adopting a pet into a family with kids can teach them responsibility, among other benefits. Feeding and caring for a pet teaches kids the value of responsibility and empathy.
6. Medical Bills
Pet owners and their kids go to the doctor less while maintaining better overall health, according to a NY Times article that looked at the data of doctor visits among pet owners and non-owners.
7. Strong Relationships
Families with pets are stronger, more united, have fewer divorces, and better relations according to meta-review of data and scientific literature from National Center for Health Research.
8. Literacy Improvements
In a 2017 study, researchers found that literacy clearly improves in kids who get pets because they often read to their dogs and cats. The results also showed how children developed a more positive attitude toward academic learning.
9. Care and Empathy
Kids with pets are more caring and empathetic than those without pets, as demonstrated in several studies. They start developing strong feelings of empathy in early childhood and grow up to be more empathetic adults, too.
10. Source of Care
In exchange, pets are their own source of love and care for the kids. Studies have shown that kids experience these feelings just from having dogs or cats around.
11. Better Parents
Kids with pets are better parents to their own children, according to analysis of data in The Waltham Book of Human-Animal Interaction. This is mostly related to kids being more empathetic, sympathetic, and caring as a result of pet ownership.
12. Impulsivity and ADHD
Pets make kids less impulsive and teach them to be more thoughtful, according to research. For this reason, pets – both dogs and cats – can be of assistance to kids with ADHD.
13. Siblings Bond
Pets strengthen the bond between siblings by giving them something to care for together and teaching them important life lessons about working together, caring for their siblings the same way they do for their pets and more.
14. Less Stress
Several studies show that kids with pets are far less stressed and anxious. A 2016 study from Tufts University showed reduction of stress and anxiety in kids of military families. A follow-up 2017 study with a bigger sample size of kids in non-military households confirmed this conclusion.
Having a pet teaches a child to be more respectful towards animals and people, and they tend to grow up to be more respectful adults as a result, according to interviewed experts.
16. Emotional Well-being
Autistic and abused children have improved emotional health when pets are introduced. Behavioral scientists conducted studies and found that pets and therapy dogs in particular improve the health and happiness of autistic kids.
17. Less Aggression
Kiddos with pets are less aggressive and less likely to become bullies, according to experts and statistics from schools.
People who’ve grown up with pets are statistically more tolerant and open-minded. In fact, studies found that cat owners in particular are more sensitive and open-minded than people without pets.
19. Better Communication
Having a pet improves the child’s overall communication skills. A few studies, albeit controversial, have demonstrated how kids who grow up with pets develop mental skills that benefit their approach to communicating with other kids and adults.
A dog or cat offers a great deal of socialization for introverted children and help prevent loneliness, as was found in a 2017 study. Researchers found that shy, quiet kids become less introverted with dogs around.
21. Improved Socialization
Having a pet in the home also helps children to better socialize with other kids of the same age. Several studies on the matter found that pets benefit autistic kids in particular as they improve their socialization and communication skills.
22. Better Self-esteem
Studies show that kids with pets have fewer self-esteem issues. In one of the studies, children’s self-esteem scores improved substantially after just 9 months of having pets around.
Pets are a perfect distraction for very active, unsettled, or even hyperactive kids. The same way dogs help children with impulsivity, there’s a lot of research directly related the benefits of dogs and cats for kids with ADHD and using pets as distraction.
24. Improved Immune System
Research found that living with a pet positively alters a child’s gut microbiota and improves the immune system. Based on a recent 2017 study, scientists found a clear correlation between young kids being around dogs and stronger immunity to various diseases.
25. Increased Happiness
Having a pet allows for great memories and as a combination of the above benefits, and makes children happier overall. There are many reasons why dogs and cats are great for kids, but improved scores of happiness may be the most important one. After all, as moms, don’t we want our kids – both 2 and 4-legged – to be happy?
As you can see, there are so many great benefits for kids who live with dogs, and right now is the perfect time to visit your local shelter. Lots of puppies are born in the spring, and with summer vacation just around the corner, the time is right to consider adding a dog to your family.
What benefits have your children experienced from living with pets? I’d love for you to tell me all about it in a comment below.