There’s nothing like the unconditional love of a dog!
When our kids have had a bad day—or when I have, for that matter—hugging our dog and receiving love back can be just the thing needed to turn the day around.
Dogs have a calming effect, despite how hyper they may be as a puppy.
When our kids are scared or nervous about something, they think about our family dog and it helps them to calm their nerves. Our son drew pictures of our dog during his first night away at camp, to help him relax and fall asleep.
The family dog provides a reason to get outside to go for a walk or throw a ball.
Now that we have a dog, we get fresh air and exercise more often. Plus, the walk allows us to spend quality time with each other. I hear more about my son’s day when we go on a walk together than I do any other time of day.
Having a pet helps children to learn responsibility.
Our 10-year-old is responsible for feeding our dog each morning, and our 14-year-old is responsible for feeding him in the evening. I always check to make sure that they’ve done it, but these chores help our kids to learn what it means to be responsible.
The family pet can help with learning.
Studies are finding that children can benefit at a young age from having a dog or cat to read to. When our daughter reads to the dog, she’s not worried about being corrected, so she’s more likely to practice reading outloud.
Having a family pet teaches kids how to be nurturing.
It turns out that becoming a nurturing person takes practice. You have to learn how to be a good caregiver. Our son is happy to help take care of the dog, whereas he is less likely to play with dolls or play house.
Having a dog can make your family safer.
Depending on how ferocious your dog’s bark is, they can be a deterrent for theft. Our dog is a softy, but his bark warns us when someone is at the door.
Pets bring families together.
Our family comes together to watch our dog do silly things and to pet him. He slows us down from our busy day and we circle around him.
Dogs don’t share secrets.
Our kids can share secrets with the family pet and never worry about it getting around. While this may not seem important, it actually allows kids to get things off their chest and process their thoughts.
And on top of it all, there are even health benefits!
A study in the Journal of Pediatrics shows that kids who live with a dog during the first year of their life have a higher immune response, with 31% fewer respiratory tract infections than those without. According to a study by Dennis Ownby, MD, a pediatrician and head of the allergy and immunology department of the Medical College of Georgia, having multiple pets actually decreases a child’s risk of developing certain allergies.
So what’s not to love?