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Benefits of Growing Up with Dogs

A recent study in Finland showed that babies who lived with dogs during the first year of their lives were less likely to have respiratory illnesses than their non-dog-owning counterparts.

The study concluded that the baby’s exposure to a mild amount of germs helped build their immune systems to ward off sickness as they got older.

As a person who grew up with a dog from the moment I started breathing I know only too well the joys that the family pet or pets can bring into your everyday life. But until recently I didn’t realise that there’s a lot of very real evidence that proves that owning a pet can actually be medically and socially beneficial as well. See our article top 5 reasons why dogs make you live longer.

Dogs help young readers gain confidence. Children who are just learning to read often get self-conscious about reading aloud around other people. Having a dog by their side helps calm those anxiety issues as they believe they’re actually reading to the dog. It gives them a feeling of confidence and helps boost their reading ability.

Kids with dogs have fewer cases of allergies and asthma. 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. Once again this is attributed to the fact that a child growing up around a dog will have a much sturdier immune system.

All puppy dog owners have healthier hearts. Dog ownership has been linked to increased cardiovascular health. It might be because being around a dog can lower your stress, your blood pressure and your heart rate.

Dog owners get more exercise. Let’s face it, in this day and age, some kids are hard to get out of the house, so owning a dog can make a real difference. Most types of dogs are great companions for physical activities. Either by taking a walk around the neighborhood, or enjoying a fun day of playing with balls in the backyard. All of these lead to healthier kids who are used to a more active lifestyle.

Having a dog for a companion helps children with autism. According to a study by the University of Montréal, the stress hormone levels of a child with an autism disorder are dramatically reduced when living with a trained service dog. Many scientists have worked on this subject over the years, and while there is still much to find out about it, no one can argue about the fact that "animal therapy" can work.

Dogs can help children develop vital social skills. It helps with impulse control and can also improve their self- esteem. It also makes them much friendlier - after all, when they walk around with the dog, it's very likely that other people and dogs will approach them. The sharing of the dog for a few moments teaches generosity and patience toward others.

Dogs help children learn responsibility. Having a dog is a daily commitment and caring for one is a great way to teach kids the importance of dependability and responsibility. It's important not to let the child forget that they are responsible for looking after the dog. Feeding it, taking it for walks and generally looking after its daily needs. If your child shows resistance or laziness, remind them that to be a dog's provider is an honour that requires a lot of patience and work. 

See I knew having Hooper and Foxie was good for me! Now if I can just kick all the other bad habits I should live to be a hundred!

Michael Beatty
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