Many parents are reluctant to let their kids get a dog because they know a dog takes a lot of work. If you asked for a rambunctious little dog when you were a child, you probably know the phrase “No. I’ll be the one to end up taking care of it.”
Actually, most of the time parents do end up taking care of their kid’s dog. They end up feeding the dog and cleaning up after it. Owning a dog also means vet visits, grooming appointments, and buying dog treats and food. Adopting a dog is a lot like having a kid and many parents don’t feel ready to take on the extra responsibility.
However, having a dog has many benefits. A dog can have a positive effect on a child’s development, especially when kids are asked to feed, play, and groom it. Additionally, there are many dog breeds that have different personalities and maintenance requirements but some are extremely fitted for children. Therefore, finding out which is the best dog breeds for kids and for your family, shouldn’t be too difficult.
If you still aren’t convinced that adopting a dog is a good reason, look at these five reasons why you should get a dog when you have kids.
Dogs Encourage Kids To Exercise
While not all dogs require daily walks, many dogs need to burn off energy multiple times a day. Puppies, especially encourage kids to get active, as they love to play and run around. Therefore, your kid can play fetch, tug-of-war, or just chase your dog around.
If you don’t have a backyard, then your kid can take your dog for walks. Depending on the type of dog you adopt, your kid may need to walk him or her several times a day. Therefore, your kids will spend more time outside and less time staring at a computer or TV screen.
Furthermore, many dogs require grooming. Brushing and bathing a dog can improve motor skills. Even feeding a dog can improve motor skills and get kids active. Therefore, adopting a dog can help combat obesity. Kids learn to be active, which helps them develop a healthier lifestyle later in life.
Dogs Teach Kids Life Skills
You’ve probably heard the saying “dogs teach kids responsibility.” While this is true, dogs can teach kids so much more. Kids who spend time taking care of, playing with, and interacting with their dogs tend to develop stronger life skills.
Taking care of a dog teaches kids parental skills they’ll need when they’re older. It will teach them how to be in charge, especially if your kids help train your dog. Furthermore, kids can learn reading, creative, and social skills when they have a dog.
For example, dog owners tend to interact with one another. Therefore, if your kids walk their dog they will learn how to be kind to others. They will also learn how to read other individuals, which helps them learn to trust others.
Dogs Decrease Anxiety and Boost Confidence
Kids see dogs as their companions. Dogs have been known to have a positive influence over a child’s emotions. When kids play and cuddle with a dog it releases oxytocin, which can reduce anxiety and depression.
When kids are calmer they can focus on tasks better. They can also perform tasks better, which will boost their confidence. Kids can also build confidence by reading to their dogs. It may sound strange, but reading to a dog is extremely beneficial.
Since dogs can’t criticize or say anything negative, kids who read out loud to them have been known to have better reading skills. Kids who read to dogs learn to get over stage fright and learn how to sound out words better.
Dogs have even been known to have a positive influence on children with autism. Trained service dogs can reduce an autistic child’s stress. A service dog can also decrease outburst and other behavioral problems.
Dogs Encourage Sibling Bonding
If you have kids who tend to fight all time, then a dog can be a fantastic way for them to bond. Similar to how a dog can teach kids how to interact with other dog owners, a dog can teach kids how to interact with their siblings better.
When siblings have similar interests or at least have one thing they can do together, they are more likely to grow closer. Therefore, having a dog to play with can encourage siblings to develop positive feelings towards each other.
While having a dog won’t completely stop siblings from fighting, it will help. Even splitting dog responsibilities can encourage sibling bonding.
Dogs Improve A Kid’s Immune System
Sometimes, dogs have a reputation for being dirty. They track mud in the house, drink from the toilet, and eat whatever they come across. However, despite the reputation, dogs can actually strengthen a child’s immune system.
Studies have found that babies who are exposed to dogs during the first year of their life are less likely to develop respiratory illnesses, as well as other infections. This is because dogs cause children to become exposed to germs. While it may it sound like a negative thing, it causes the immune system to build up a resistance to germs and bacteria.
Having a dog can even decrease the risk of developing allergies and asthma. Studies have found that a child’s chance of developing allergies and asthma can decrease by 50% when exposed to a dog. Even kids who are allergic to dogs should be exposed to them.
Kids who are allergic to dogs can benefit from owning a dog. If they are exposed to dogs early enough, they are less likely to develop eczema. However, if they have a serious dog allergy you may want to double check with a doctor before bringing a dog home.
Dogs Are Worth The Mess
Yes, dogs can be messy and they could mean extra responsibility for you. However, owning a dog has so many great benefits that the mess is worth it. Dogs become wonderful and loyal companions that can teach your kids valuable social skills.
Anna Smith resides in beautiful Santa Monica, CA, where she works as a Pet Nutrition Expert in a leading retail pet store. She is responsible for nutritional strategies for different breeds and development of new products on the market in compliance with Association of American Feed Control Officials. Anna’s passions are education about proven methods and best practices in the industry and her dog Max, who is always well-fed. She also helps curate contents for DogsAholic.com