We always had dogs in our home growing up. So, it’s probably not a surprise that my siblings and I are dogs owners ourselves today. And, like most dog owners, we love our four-legged friends so much that they’re a part of the family.
However, I know plenty of people who didn’t grow up around dogs. You can only imagine their reluctance when their kids start begging for the family to bring a dog into their home. Thankfully, as long as you have the time and resources, having a dog in your home is beneficial for your family.
Owning a dog makes you healthier and happier.
There are several scientifically proven reasons why being a dog owner is good for adults. These include:
- Dogs boost your immune system because we’re introduced to more diverse bacteria.
- Petting a dog lowers heart rates and blood pressure.
- On average, dog owners get 30 minutes of exercise per day. In fact, dog owners are usually more active than non-dog owners — even during the winter.
- Dogs owners are less likely to suffer from depression. Also, dogs can help reduce stress and anxiety. Even simply looking at your dog can the amount of oxytocin in your brain.
- Having a dog can improve your social life since dogs can spark new relationships. Studies have also found that dog owners have closer and more supportive relationships.
- Some studies show that dogs can detect potential health problems like cancer.
Dogs are good for your children as well.
While some of the benefits listed above can also carry over to your children, here are the reasons why having a dog is good for them:
- Teaches your children responsibility, empathy, and selflessness. They’ll quickly realize it’s not always about them when the dog has to be walked or feed.
- Encourages your children how to think on their feet, as well as how to control their emotions. It’s not right to hit the dog for chewing a toy when it should have been put away.
- Children who grow up around dogs have fewer allergies and asthma. In fact, “scientists have found that kids who grow up around dogs are 50% less likely to develop allergies and asthma than those who grow up without a dog.”
- According to David Meyer, founder of Adopt-a-Pet.com, “Nurturing a pet is an acceptable way for boys to “parent play”—to practice being caregivers.”
- Helps your children develop skills — particularly social, creative, and reading skills. For example, children can boost their literacy skills by reading aloud to their dogs.
- Promotes emotional development. When children care and love for a pet, they develop self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Dogs will protect your children from any potential harm. This isn’t something you ever want to happen. But, if someone went after your child, you can bet your dog will attack the culprit to protect your family.
Final words of advice.
Before making this commitment, take the time to find the right dog for your home. For example, even you or your children have allergies there are plenty of hypoallergic dog breeds. Additionally, you need to find a breed that is best for your lifestyle and the ages of your children. From my personal experience, and the experts agree, Labrador Retrievers, Labradoodles, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and American Staffordshire Terriers are perfect for families.
However, make sure that you properly introduce the dog to your children before making the commitment. Whenever my parents brought home a dog we meet the dog from the other side of a fence. If the dog snapped at any of us, my parents returned the dog immediately so that none of us would get bit.
For more advice on how to introduce a dog to your children, check out these tips from Preventive Vet.