7 Amazing Benefits of Dogs for Kids
From feeling more loved...to being happier overall...becoming allergy free...learning responsibility and more! We reveal the top benefits of dogs for kids - and how your whole family can enjoy the perks of owning a furry friend.
Copy: Serena Faber-Nelson
Photography: Serena Faber-Nelson
If I told you just one change to your household could make everyone happier, healthier and more content with life, would you believe me?
You guessed it – that one change is getting a dog.
I get your apprehension – for busy parents wrangling toddlers, those suffering sleep deprivation with newborns, or parents just trying to get all their kids to soccer practice and piano lessons on time – adding another family member to the mix sounds like C-R-A-Z-Y talk.
Yet a new survey commissioned by long-lasting paralysis tick and flea treatment Bravecto® has revealed the latest insights into the positive, long-lasting effects our four-legged friends have on children and the entire household.
Yes, a dog is a lifelong responsibility who requires love, food, walks and cuddles. But they’re also an amazing addition to any household, and these seven top benefits have lifelong effects on every member of the family. For reals.
I hope these tips inspire you to add a furry friend to your family, or if you already have one – make sure you experience these awesome benefits they bring.
1. Dogs Make Children Feel More Loved
If there’s anything that child psychologists and experts agree on, it’s that feeling loved and secure is the ultimate foundation for a happy child.
But as they get older, many children face new threats once they leave the cocoon of their loving home – from school yard bullying, to cyber bullying, body images worries, academic pressures and more. These anxieties can alienate them from their loved ones, and make them feel alone.
In the Bravecto® Dogs and Children Survey, 75% of children aged 6 to 12 years said their dog made them feel more loved and safe.
Put simply – a family dog gives children one constant family member they can ALWAYS rely on to be there, listen to their fears without worry, and love unconditionally.
Knowing your child always feels loved no matter what? That’s everything.
2. Dogs Can Help Reduce Allergies in Children
Can your dog keep away allergies? Seems like it may be so!
New studies (see references below) suggest babies from families with dogs showed higher levels of two types of microbes associated with lower risks of allergic disease and obesity.
Researchers say early exposure to these pet allergens and pet-related bacteria strengthens the immune system in infants, accustoms the body to allergens, and helps the child build up a natural immunity.
By having a dog in the house in your child’s first year of life you could be helping their health for decades to come.
3. Dogs Teach Responsibility
Any kid that’s ever begged their parents for a dog have promised they’ll feed Fido dinner, walk him everyday and pick up after him.
And you know what? Having a dog actually does make your child more responsible than their peers without pets.
In the Bravecto® Dogs and Children Survey, 82% of kids said they loved playing with their dogs, 71% said they enjoyed being responsible for feeding their pup, 65% were the family’s designated dog walkers and even 46% said they liked cleaning up their dog’s poo!
From toddlers, to tweens and teens, the responsibility of caring for another family member trumps any other household chore. It gives them a sense of purpose, and a real understanding of commitment – much more so than their other pet-free friends.
4. Dogs Make your Children More Caring
From early teachings to toddlers – “Spot likes it when you pat her gently” – to teens – “Ralph looks lonely, how about a game of fetch?” – having a strong bond with a pet enhances natural empathy in children. It’s one of the hidden benefits of dogs for kids.
Through cuddles, walks and playtime children see the immediate effect of kindness and thinking of others when they care for their furry friends.
Laura V, Australia’s most well-loved animal behaviourist, believes caring for a dog can help children’s development both emotionally and physically: “The Bravecto survey shows children often adopt the task of caring for their dog which teaches them how to care for others.”
With more and more studies showing empathy as a cornerstone to contentment and success in later life, Fido will have your child on a path to happiness in no time.
5. Dogs are a Ready-Made Best Friend
Childhood can be lonely at times. Siblings aren’t always a guaranteed best mate, and the schoolyard can be tough.
But dogs? They’re a ready-made friend that is always willing to listen, play and cuddle.
73% of parents surveyed by Bravecto said the #1 thing their dog gave their children was companionship. By having your children grow up with a furry best friend you know they always have a (furry) shoulder to lean on.
6. Dogs Make Your Children Healthier & Fitter
In the age of school aged obesity epidemics, this one’s a no brainer really.
All dogs need exercise and all dogs need exercises buddies.
Having a four legged member of the household gives every child another reason to get outdoors and get active.
74% of children aged 13 to 18, who have a dog, agreed – saying they walked their dogs regularly and saw the benefits – in the Bravecto® Dogs and Children Survey.
In the age of Snapchat, Netflix and Minecraft, the humble dog might just be your secret weapon in keeping your kids fit and healthy.
7. Dogs Make Children Feel More Content Overall
If there ever was a way to articulate the magic, the Joie de vivre, of having a dog it would be this: by just being there, dogs make you more content.
Dogs make children feel happy (85% of those surveyed said so), loved (67%) and safe (64%) – even 62% of cliched moody teenagers said having a dog made them feel more content than their non-pet owning friends.
We can say it’s their loyalty, their unconditional love, their playfulness, their capacity for love…there are so many things that make up the special bond between a person and a dog.
For children – from learning their first words, to navigating their school years and developing into young adults – one thing they crave and need is contentment. Peace. Happiness. Love. And with a dog, it’s all wrapped up in one furry package.
GIVEAWAY – WIN 1 OF 20 BRAVECTO PACKS
We’ve teamed up with Bravecto to offer you the chance to WIN 1 of 20 Bravecto prize packs. Enter below!
Bravecto is the only oral chew to deliver 3 months flea and paralysis tick protection for dogs in a single dose. It’s a tasty oral chew that dogs love, it won’t wash or rub off, and there’s no mess to administer or liquids to spill or transfer.
With Bravecto, your family can focus on loving life with your dog, knowing they are protected and leaving everyone to worry about more important things, like where is the lead?
THE COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED. The luck winners are…
TERMS & CONDITIONS
This post and giveaway is brought to you by Bravecto®
The giveaway is open to Australian residents only aged 18+ years.
Family of Pretty Fluffy staff are ineligible to enter.
The total prize pool is 20 Bravecto Packs.
The competition will close on Tuesday 20 June 2016 at 6:00pm Sydney EST and the winners drawn at this time.
The winners will be announced on Pretty Fluffy and contacted by the email provided.
Prizes not claimed within 7 days will be redrawn.
- The Bravecto Dogs & Children Survey was completed in April 2017 with an online permission-based panel of owners of dogs in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. Quotas were used for state and gender so that the results can projected to the full population of dog owners in the eastern states. The sample size was 507, giving a confidence level of ± 4.3% at the 95% confidence interval.
- Study: Living With Pets May Protect Infants From Allergies
- Pet exposure may reduce allergy and obesity