4 ways children benefit from having a dog

If your children have been begging you to get a puppy, you’re not alone. We all did it ourselves at some point but not every parent caves in to the request. The thought of the added daily tasks and financial obligations can be make or break for some but it’s worth considering how owning a dog can benefit your kids in the long run.

From encouraging empathy to teaching responsibility and improving wellbeing, we take a look at some reasons how children can benefit from growing up with a dog in the house.

Develops emotional intelligence

Every parent strives to have children who are compassionate and selfless. While you play a large role in teaching them to be kind, owning a dog enables them to practice these skills, further developing their emotional intelligence.

For example, taking the dog for a walk outside when there are things they’d rather be doing allows them to practice being selfless. Additionally, tasks such as grooming, feeding, and playing can help build a child’s self-esteem, giving them a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Teaches about responsibility

Having a dog is a huge responsibility for anyone – more so a child who isn’t used to looking after another living being. Getting your child to be involved in the dog’s care is a great way of preparing them for responsibilities later in life.

Start off small by getting them to use their pocket money to purchase the necessities like a dog crate, bedding, food, and toys. Once comfortable, have them feed the dog and take it out for a walk. Remember to supervise all interactions to ensure the safety of both your child and the dog.

Increases physical activity

Dogs are highly active creatures, requiring regular walks and sufficient time outdoors each day. This can motivate your child to engage in more physical activity than they may typically do, promoting a healthier lifestyle.

Owning a dog can also benefit children’s health in other ways too. As an example, studies have shown living with an indoor dog can reduce the development of food allergies in infants as well as certain respiratory allergies. This boost to the immune system is more evident in children exposed to dogs during their first year of life.

Helps them learn about loss

Our pets become fully integrated parts of our lives, so it’s like losing a family member when they pass. Although not something you want to think about at this stage, owning a pet, especially one that is of age, can be a good way for children to learn early on about loss and grief.

While this change in circumstance can be difficult, it teaches children to look to their support network when needed and allows them to learn coping skills for difficult situations in later life.