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The Benefits of Growing up Around a Dog

Many like to say that a dog is a man's best friend, but it is far more accurate to say that a dog is a child's best friend. If your children or grandchildren are begging you to get a dog, you may want to consider what an amazing impact it will have on their lives. It is my personal opinion that every parent needs to know these facts, and even if you don’t have children, it's still wonderful to see the positive effect these lovable creatures have on us.
1. Babies who live with dogs get sick less.
A recent study at Kuopio University Hospital in Finland shows that babies who lived with dogs during the first year of their lives were less likely to have respiratory illnesses than their non-dog-owning counterparts. Many consider this fact to be a result of dogs causing more exposure to a mild amount of germs, increasing the abilities of the babies' immune systems to prevent sickness as they grow up.
2. Dogs help young readers gain confidence.
Children who are just learning to read often get self-conscious about reading aloud around other people. By having a dog around, they don't have any of those anxiety issues as they are actually "reading to the dog". Since dogs will be happy just to be around the child, the resulting feeling of confidence will do wonders for their reading ability.
3. Kids with dogs have fewer cases of allergies and asthma.

Scientists have found that kids who grow up around dogs are 50% less likely to develop allergies and asthma than those who grow up without a dog. This is again attributed to the fact that a child growing up around a dog will have a much sturdier immune system.

4. Dog owners have healthier hearts.

Dog ownership has been linked to increased cardiovascular health. It might be because being around a dog can lower your stress, your blood pressure and your heart rate.

5. Kids with dogs get more exercise.

In this day and age, some kids are hard to get out of the house, but a dog is a simple way to deal with that. Most types of dogs are great companions for physical activities - it can be by taking a walk around the neighborhood, or enjoying a fun day of playing with balls and ropes in the backyard. All of these lead to healthier kids who are used to a more active lifestyle.

6. Dogs work wonders for kids with Autism.

According to a study by the University of Montréal, the stress hormone levels of a child with an autism disorder are dramatically reduced when living with a trained service dog. Many scientists have worked on this subject over the years, and while there is still much to find out about it, no one can argue about the fact that "animal therapy", and dog ownership in particular, can help these children in incredible ways.


7. Family pets lead to sibling bonding.

Having a dog around the house is a lot like having another child. This can help brothers and sisters grow closer through their common love of their pet and reduce other factors like jealousy and rivalry. From sharing the walking and cleaning responsibilities to just playing with him in the yard, a dog can bring siblings much closer together.

8. Kids who live with dogs are less likely to have eczema.

According to a University of Cincinnati (College of Medicine) study, children who live with dogs when they are young, and also have an allergy to dogs, are four times less likely to have eczema. The logic behind this is that a mild allergy will not harm a child, and yet dealing with it will make him much more resistant to the effects of eczema.

9. Dogs help kids learn social skills.

Growing up with a dog helps children learn social skills, impulse control, and improves their self-esteem. It also makes them much friendlier - after all, when they walk around with the dog, it's very likely that other people and dogs will approach them. The sharing of the dog for a few moments teaches generosity and patience toward others.

10. Kids grow up alongside a loving companion.

Dogs are always happy to see you when you get home, they will always love you and their love is unconditional. They're the ideal confidant and an ever-willing playmate, which means there is no better friend for a child than his dog. Who wouldn't want a friend like that growing up?

11. Kids who care for pets learn responsibility.
Having a dog is a daily commitment and caring for one is a great way to teach kids the importance of dependability and responsibility. It's important not to let the child forget that he is responsible for certain things that his dog does, as well as taking care of the dog's needs.

If your child shows resistance or laziness, remind them that to be a dog's provider is an honor that requires a lot of patience and work, and those that don’t do it are not worthy of such friends.
12. Kids get even cuter.
This might be a benefit for the parents more than it is for the child but regardless, you can't ignore just how cute little children and dogs are together! Having these two young friends around the house will be a constant source of smiles and laughter that will brighten up your home! 
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