Are you a dog or a cat person? If you’re a cat person you might change your mind after reading the following 8 benefits of owning a dog that you won’t get by owning a cat.. These benefits apply to everyone who owns a dog in general and some might say that they can handle not having them. But when it comes to your child’s physical and mental wellbeing these benefits are priceless.
1. Good Teachers
When you include your child in caring for the dog it teaches them several things. Among those are responsibility, selflessness, and discipline. They learn these traits in the following ways (these are just examples):
– Responsibility: by walking the dog, strict food timings, teaching tricks and respect
– Selflessness: caring for the nutrition and health of another being
– Discipline: having the responsibility to stick to a routine
Dogs teach children differently than we do. They teach them through the language of love and peace and through nature. I’m not saying that we teach children in any negative way.. But having several sources of learning definitely improves a child’s view of life. It allows them see in different perspectives and helps them understand the world and others around them better.
2. Man’s Best Friend
A dog’s companionship with a child is beneficial for many reasons. Being an loyal animal that lives its life eager to please its owner, it does not criticize or judge or have any of the qualities that may negatively affect a child. Therefore a dog can boost your child’s self-esteem and help your child develop a positive self-image. It helps them develop a more independent personality and makes it easier for them to build good relationships with people. It makes them feel trustworthy, needed, and responsible.
These feelings are positively and directly linked to maturity. ‘Attachment’ may have negative connotations to some people but it really isn’t a negative thing for a person to be attached. Having your child attached to a dog is what helps them become emotionally secure beings, which in turn as I mentioned helps them to better build relationships with others.
The presence of a dog gives your child a sense of security, and helps them adjust better to any changes that happen in their life. Even changes as simple as going to work and leaving your child at home, having a dog present eases the transition and keeps your child company and feeling safe.
It can help children grow immunity to certain allergies that they might be prone to. It has been found in a study in 2004 “in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology” that children growing up with dogs have better immunity to certain allergies — such as “atopic dermatitis and wheezing”. Children who are born into a dog-owning household develop these immunities stronger; they can even develop the immunity throughout pregnancy if the mother was around dog or owned a dog during her pregnancy.
Dogs reduce stress levels in all family members. Studies prove that interacting with dogs reduces stress, especially when petted. When petting, hugging, or playing with a dog, your body and the dog’s body both release a hormone called Oxytocin, which can also be referred to as the cuddle-hormone. This is the same hormone released when a mother breastfeeds her child. This hormone reduces stress and strengthens the bond between you and the dog. Another hormone is reduced during this process, which is the stress hormone called Cortisol.
Thus dogs can help people of all ages, let alone children, reduce risks of or prevent stress related diseases. A stress-less child is a healthy child. When the stress is reduced your child is less likely to get sick. The stress in children is different than stress in adults but affects our body in the same ways. However a child’s stress is easier to be dealt with, so having a dog around would definitely ease any kind of stress your child may be gong through.. From attending a new school to dealing with divorced parents.
They encourage the family to exercise..
Dogs help children release or exert their energy in a healthy and positive manner. It has been found in a study that dogs can calm over active or even aggressive children and help them relax. Playing around the house alone can do this, but it is necessary for dogs to get their daily walks, and this is another benefit to your child and to the whole family. By walking the dog every day it not only creates a routine, but also gets the family more active. It is encouraged of course to take your child on that walk with the adult walking it so your child can benefit too.
6. Health Detector
Dogs can sense if something is different in a person. They can even sense and smell changes in blood sugar levels and can sniff out tumors. A dog was even trained to do so at a hospital to find out if a tumor was benign or cancerous. They will let their owners know by behaving strangely or differently that something is wrong. They can even sense the slightest changes in one’s mood and will comfort the person more when in need and show affection.
Dogs in general are very alert and can tell a stranger from a friend. Dogs can sense a human’s energy, so whether the dog is big or not, it can help protect by its owner, the child in this case, outdoors by reacting to certain people differently or in the house by barking when someone approaches or enters the house, alerting the family that someone is there. The human’s intention will trigger the dog because it sends out a vibe that the dog can sense. So if someone is just approaching to pet the dog, it might not react in the same way as it would to someone with bad intentions.
Of course the bigger the dog the better the chances of protection are. If the dog is big but isn’t a protective breed, it can still intimidate others simply by its size and the uncertainty of whether the dog is trained to protect or not. If the dog is a protection breed, whether or not it is trained to protect or not, it intimidates others by appearance and makes them very wary of coming near the child.
Dogs make children more social. Naturally when people see a person with a dog, they come close to pet it and to ask about it. If your child is with you when you walk the dog, this will encourage your kid to speak up and answer when strangers ask about the dog. It would also make your child more confident in dealing with strangers — not that they should get too friendly with any, but it would reduce social anxiety and shyness. Dogs are social magnets, and will get conversations started. They make it easier to befriend others through socializing at dog a parks or meeting people who are interested in dogs, as they are an obvious common factor. Helping your child start conversations wouldn’t be only during walks, but also at school, when they have nothing to say, they can talk about pets. Or when asked by the teacher if they have any pets at home. Even on pet day, they would have something to share with other students and would again boost their self-esteem by feeling responsible for and looked up to by this being that’s catching everyone’s attention.
Fun Fact: dogs were proven to help ease or lessen the symptoms of certain social anxiety disorders and other disorders like autism.