Pets are a part of many children’s lives. To help making pet ownership a positive experience for everyone, parental involvement, open discussion, and planning are necessary. When a child learns to care for an animal, treating it kindly and patiently, the child may get invaluable training in learning to treat people the same way. Children can develop social skills by taking care of a pet. If parents believe their child is old enough to care for a pet, they must oversee the pet’s care. Children under the age of 10 years are unable to care for a large animal, a cat or a dog, on their own.
According to a collection of scientific studies, having a dog can greatly benefit a child’s emotional intelligence. Puppy Pointers show that pets can have a positive effect on your child’s health, too. Here are some benefits of owning dogs and the ways kids who have a dog in the home evolves compared to those who don’t:
- Children have higher self-esteem when they are given tasks to complete, such as helping with the care of a pet. Kids show an improvement in self-esteem and may even take pride in getting more responsibility. Though the tasks should be age-appropriate (3 years above).
- Kids with pet dogs become more compassionate. Multiple studies have shown that children who owned dogs were more empathetic towards others. Parents and children frequently share in taking care of the pet. This suggests that kids learn at an early age how to care for and nurture a dependent animal.
- They feel supported. Several researchers found that children often name their pet when asked who they would go to with a problem. Whereas fellow humans will judge and may criticize, pets can make people feel unconditionally accepted.
- Children develop better cognitive skills. Some research has suggested that kids who talk to their dog, whether by giving praise and commands or just babbling, show improved cognitive development.
- Having a pet dog can alleviate stress in kids. Petting a dog has been proven to lower cortisol levels in both the person and the pet. Also, research has found that children’s stress levels decrease when reading aloud to a dog.
- They are happier with dog pets. Playing with a pet raises levels of serotonin and dopamine, which calm the mind and increase the mood.
- Having a dog can benefit your child’s health. Besides the obvious benefits of being more active and getting outside more often when playing with a dog, several studies have suggested that children who have dogs have a decreased chance of developing allergies. A current study is underway to determine if dogs could even have a probiotic-like effect on the human body.
When selecting a dog for your child, make sure to research the breeds and speak to the breeder about your family’s lifestyle so that you can ensure the pet you get is the best fit for your whole family. Also, be sure to educate children about dog body language and always supervise their interactions.