Have you been thinking about adding a dog to your family? A furry best friend can bring so much love and joy to a household. Or, perhaps, you already have a dog, but now that you’re expecting a baby, you’re wondering how your pet is going to adjust to the new family dynamics. The good news? There are several reasons why children will benefit from owning dogs as they grow up.
Pets teach responsibility
To thrive, dogs need a lot of care and attention. So, children will learn that they need to provide their pets with food, water and exercise. Older kids can also help to groom and clean up after their pups. Children who own dogs will also learn about the consequences of their actions. For example, if they leave a door open, their beloved dog might get out. Or if they fail to put away their toys or snacks, there’s a chance the family dog could destroy or eat their belongings.
Dogs are good for your children’s mental well-being
According to Psychology Today, a recent study showed that children who live with pets tend to be less moody and enjoy generally better mental health. In addition, other studies have shown that children who own dogs tend to be less stressed out than kids who don’t have a canine. Why? Researchers believe that children will benefit from owning dogs because it reduces cortisol levels, which can lessen a child’s response to stressful situations.
Dogs offer unconditional love
A dog loves his humans unconditionally and will always be there for your children. Dogs don’t care if your child got straight A’s on their report card or if they weren’t “good” enough to make the travel baseball team. They’ll be there to lick the tears off your child’s face. And unlike your child’s human friends, a dog will never let them down.
Dogs can make your children healthier
Research has found that children who live with dogs in their homes may actually reap unexpected health benefits from their furry best buddies. For example, studies have shown that children who spent time around dogs and other pets were at a lower risk of developing asthma as well as allergies. While scientists aren’t exactly sure why pets help prevent these health issues, the general belief is that exposing a baby to dog dander and the microbes that may be present on a canine help to develop their immune systems. Another study showed that babies who grew up in a home with a dog were 31 percent more likely to be healthy during their first year than kids who didn’t have a pooch.
Training a dog will give a child a sense of accomplishment
It takes time, patience and perseverance to teach a pet a new trick. But once a child is successful in training a dog, he or she will be rewarded with a satisfying sense of accomplishment. Your child may even want to take on more difficult challenges — such as training their dog for agility classes. Your children will definitely benefit from training dogs, and the discipline that comes along with it.
Dogs give kids a reason to exercise
It doesn’t matter whether it’s hot, cold, raining or snowing, dogs need to get out a couple of times a day to relieve themselves. And good owners will make sure to take their dogs on at least one nice walk a day. Young dogs especially need a chance to stretch their legs and burn off excess energy. Having a dog in your household is a good reason for your children to enjoy a family hike or to get outside and throw a ball or Frisbee for their furry best friend.
Dogs can teach your children about the circle of life
Sadly, a dog’s life is much shorter than a human’s. So, this allows a child to witness and learn how to deal with the different stages of life — even the most difficult, the death of a loved one.
Kids + canines = happiness
Yes, it can be a lot of work raising small children and a dog (or two) at the same time. But there are definitely a lot of benefits and rewards to having a furry family member, especially for your children.
Stephanie N. Blahut is Director of Digital Marketing and Technology for Figo Pet Insurance. Figo is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology — the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud — and the industry’s best pet insurance plans.