Dogs and Children – Benefits of Keeping a Pet

Little girl cuddling a dog in the nature.

I remember how much I wanted that dog.

Benefits of keeping a petWhen I was a little girl, I would watch ‘Lady and the Tramp’ over and over again and spend hours daydreaming about having a buff female Cocker Spaniel. I guess that was how I transformed the longing for a sibling I never had – someone who would share the room with me and help defuse the tension an only child is often exposed to – the moments when there’s no one you can play with, accompanied by the feeling of growing restlessness. In moments like that, in my mind, I’d set up a scenery of a farm in Italy, where I’d keep dogs of different breeds.

She arrived at our house much later – years after I was old enough to iron my own clothes; and she did change our lives for the better. Moreover, she helped me lose that feeling of loneliness and transformed my daily routine in such a way that, by taking care of her, I started to understand the concept of responsibility. She colored the weary stripes of the time passing by and made the day itself feel more fulfilling.

Apparently, it’s not only me who felt this way.

Scientific studies have confirmed that pets are good for our health – they keep us cheerful and fit, and can even help speed up the recovery process after major illnesses.

1. Petting reduces stress

Not only that petting and grooming can be comforting for your pet, but it can also be comforting for you – the soft fur texture under your fingers, the warmth that radiates from both of you once you’ve connected. As oxytocin – the hormone related to reducing stress and anxiety – is being released, the blood pressure and cortisol – the stress hormone – levels go down. The smiling or laughter pets often trigger raises your serotonin and dopamine levels, which are associated with calmness and happiness.

2. Pets help in therapy of heart conditions and allergies

Research has shown that living with pets provides certain health benefits. Pets help lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety. When a dog lives inside the home, the children are less likely to show evidence of pet allergies, such as eczema or itching — 19% vs. 33%. It turns out that pets help boost the immune system.

Keeping a pet – particularly a dog – can help lower the risk of heart disease. People with pets and cardiovascular disease are more likely to survive heart attacks.

3. Pets can make you more sociable

Going out for walks, chats with other dog owners, meeting other people, your petless friends that like animals, pet owner gatherings… It can be a lot of a fun!
It can even help you get dates.

4. Pets can bring educational benefits

Apart from the fun associated with pets, they can also bring educational benefits. Taking care of a pet teaches a child about responsibilities, commitment, patience and mutual trust. By feeding the pet, children develop an understanding of daily care. The presence of pets helps increase the attention span of children, which helps them study more effectively.
Pets are often very intuitive and seek for ways to cheer you up when you’re feeling down, but it is important to bear in mind that pets should not be used to fill temporary emotional voids. Pets require commitment and it would be unfair to push them aside once you feel better. Make sure you can provide care and love to your pet before taking him home.

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Posted by
Lenka Laskova

Lenka usually spends her time reading and writing. She loves animals and nature. In spare time, she translates poetry.