For the most part, dogs are friendly and affectionate animals that can have a positive impact on a child’s development. Dogs aren’t just the family pet; they can become a firm best friend, a protector, and even a teacher for little ones. So, it’s no surprise that many children dream of having their very own dog as a pet.
However, from a parent’s point of view, the decision to get a dog isn’t a small one. A dog will not only take up a chunk of the family budget in food, accessories and vet bills, they also require a lot of attention, with daily walks and perhaps training if you choose to get a puppy. If you can’t decide whether it’s worth it, here are seven reasons to convince you.
Reason #1. Dogs are a Great Best Friend:
With their own pet dog, you can be sure that your little one is never going to be lonely or bored. Even if their friends can’t come over to play, siblings are busy with homework or the weather outside isn’t great, a dog provides the perfect, eager playmate who’ll always be there for them. Dogs are well known for their companionship and loyalty, and they’ll be right there through the good times and the bad to celebrate with your child or cheer them up if needed. Check out these top dog tips to help your child get started looking after their new friend.
Reason #2. Dogs Encourage Physical Activity:
Today, more and more kids are spending their spare time playing on games consoles or staring at an iPad screen. But, while technology certainly has a part to play in education and development in the modern world, it’s important to get the balance right. Many parents worry that their children aren’t playing outside and getting as much physical activity as they should be at such a young age. Dogs need to be regularly walked and exercised, plus they love to play, run and chase – helping to keep the whole family active. In turn, this will lead to a stronger, healthier immune system – in fact, studies show that children who grow up with dogs tend to take less time off school due to sickness. Another study even found that dog owners in general recover from illness more quickly – in some cases, even a heart attack.
Reason #3. Dogs Teach Skills and Responsibility:
Children like to spend a lot of time with their pets, and looking after a dog is one of the best ways to teach them responsibility and accountability from a young age. Even young children can understand that a dog must be cared for every day, giving them food and water and taking them for a walk. As your child grows up, they will learn how it feels to be in charge and how to uphold their commitments to others. Also, having a dog can help with a range of other skills. For example, your child can practice reading by reading stories to their pet, who’ll be more than willing to listen without interrupting. On the other hand, having a dog can be one of the best ways to help your child improve their social skills, and when you’re out walking your dog, you can meet and interact with other pet owners.
Reason #4. Dogs Offer Protection and Security:
When trained correctly and cared for, dogs are very loyal pets who will do anything to protect their beloved owners. A dog can offer protection for your child when they need it most; they will be there to fend off any bullies when you aren’t around, and can even detect if something is wrong, for example, if your child falls ill but isn’t yet showing any symptoms. Since dogs have excellent noses, they can also be hugely useful for children with certain allergies, as you can train them to detect various allergens around the home. In addition, dogs can also offer your child a sense of emotional security; knowing that your pet loves you is one of the best feelings in the world.
Reason #5. Dogs Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety:
Children of today can often be under tremendous pressure, with school exams starting at younger ages than ever before, and mounting peer pressure becoming the norm. So, it’s no surprise that many children are no stranger to stress and anxiety; whether it’s about fitting in with peers at school or doing well on an entrance exam. Thankfully, dogs are here to help them through the stressful times. Cuddling with your favorite pet releases a hormone known as oxytocin, which acts by relaxing the body and mind and soothing away anxiety.
Reason #6. Dogs Can Help Manage Behavioral Problems:
A pet dog can also help to manage any behavioral problems that kids may display. Many children grow out of their childhood behavioral issues, and a dog can help to speed this process up. For example, children who are overly hyperactive and even aggressive can find a healthy outlet for their energy by playing with a dog. On the other hand, even children who tend to be bad-tempered, or even spiteful, can be softened and taught discipline when looking after and interacting with a faithful, patient dog. In addition, children with special needs and learning difficulties often respond well to having a dog around.
Reason #7. Dogs Can Boost Self-Esteem:
Every caring parent wants their child to grow up with good self-esteem and a strong sense of self-worth, but sadly, this doesn’t always happen. There are many factors, both inside and outside of the home, that could have a lasting effect on the way your child views and thinks about themselves. However, having a pet dog has been shown to have a positive effect on children’s self-esteem. This is for a number of reasons; along with reducing anxiety and stress, the loyalty of a dog to your child serves as a constant reminder of how important they are to their pet.
Getting a dog may be a big commitment, but it can certainly be worth it regarding benefits for your little ones.