If you’ve got kids, chances are you’ve heard them begging for a dog at some point or another. You’ve likely thought of all the dog hair, mess in your home, accidents in the house, but try and banish those thoughts. Adding a dog to your family can have some great benefits for you and your kids, so consider some of the points below if you’ve been tossing the idea around.
They Teach Responsibility
Consider the age of your children when thinking about adopting a dog. If your child is old enough, they can take on the duties of feeding, providing water, cleaning up after, and walking the dog. Having this responsibility teaches kids about how difficult, but rewarding, caring for another living creature can be.
They Keep Kids Active
Dogs encourage exercise, which is great for both your kids and yourself! Childhood obesity has been on the rise for quite some time, and getting outside and playing with the dog is a great way to exercise. Don’t forget about having your child take the pup for (supervised) walks. This is a great way to incorporate exercise and pet car at the same time.
They’re Great Stress Reducers
If you’ve ever had a dog, you know how relaxing it can be to just snuggle up with your dog or mindlessly pet them. Studies have shown that when playing with or petting a dog, the feel-good hormone oxytocin is released, which soothes nerves and anxiety. They can also help reduce depression and sadness, as they provide unconditional love to their owners.
They Help Build Up the Immune System
When compared to those without dogs, studies found that infant and children who live with dogs inside the home were 44% less likely to develop ear infections, and 29% less likely to need antibiotics. Another study found that infant children who shared a home with a dog were about a third more likely to be healthier in their first year. I don’t know about you, but increasing the health of my kids sounds like a positive reason to get a dog!
They Teach Empathy and Compassion
Most everyone will agree that teaching kids empathy and compassion is an important part of growing up. Dogs often form a bond with children that is very reinforcing – meaning that the dog makes the child happy and in turn the child makes the dog happy. When one is sad or hurt, the other will do their best to help.
These are just some of the reasons getting a dog for your kid can be a great decision from your family. Consider going down to our local animal shelter and volunteering there to see if your kid is ready to take on the responsibility of pet ownership. You may even find the perfect pup in need of a loving forever home to add to your family.