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Dogs can bring a whole lot of joy to a household. They are loyal, caring, and offer unconditional love to every member of the family.
Now, a new study shows that children who own a dog have healthier social habits and are more considerate towards others.
Yes! And the new data based on the study of 1,646 households – with at least one child between 2-5 and 42%, or 686, owning a dog – show that young children living with at least one dog at home display far stronger emotional and social skills than kids with no pups at home. Pretty cool, no?
Dogs' benefits for kids
Based on different factors like age, gender, sleep routine and parents’ education, the researchers found:
- Kids with a pet dog were 23% less likely to have problems with their emotions or social interactions with others than children with no dog at home.
- Kids have a dog at home were also 30% less likely to act in an anti-social manner and 40% less likely to have trouble hanging out with other kids.
- Children with dogs are also 34% more likely to be considerate toward others (sharing, politeness).
The scientists reported: “While we expected that dog ownership would provide some benefits for young children’s wellbeing, we were surprised that the mere presence of a family dog was associated with many positive behaviors and emotions.”
Spending time with dogs strengthen benefits
Spending time with dogs appears to strengthen these benefits for children.
- Kids who reported going for a family dog walk at least once per week were determined to be 36% less likely to have below average emotional or social development in comparison to kids who rarely went for walks with their dog.
- Kids who said they play with their pet dog at least three times per week were 74% more likely to be considerate toward others.
Thus dog ownership may benefit children’s development and wellbeing. This could be attributed to the bond between children and their dogs.
And the study further suggests: “Stronger attachments between children and their pets may be reflected in the amount of time spent playing and walking together and this may promote social and emotional development.”