July 7th

Family + Dog + Kite
The family dog is good for more than unconditional love and non-stop snuggles. A new study, which surveyed 1,600 parents of preschoolers, shows a connection between the family dog and children’s social-emotional development.

Turns out, children from households with a dog had a reduced likelihood of conduct and peer problems. They also had an increased likelihood of prosocial behavior compared to kids in a home without a dog. The presence of a dog also increased the children’s physical activity, thanks to dog walking and playtime, which impacted pro-social behaviors, according to the scientists.

The study concludes that the social and emotional benefits of having a dog in the house may begin in early childhood and that interacting with a dog can be important for facilitating that development.

This is just the beginning of the benefits that having a dog fetches for humans. Dog ownership is also linked to a reduced risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Dog owners are more likely to engage in moderate physical activity than non-dog owners. Finally, playing with or even just petting a dog lowers blood pressure, slows heart rate, regulates breathing and relaxes muscle tension.

If you’re considering adding a family pet, please adopt from your local animal shelter or rescue organization.