Dogs truly are man’s best friend. But what about baby’s best friend? Raising a child is a lot of work and the most important thing a parent can do, but does it pay to have four-legged family members in the mix? It may seem like a lot to care for a baby and a dog but having dogs in your family can improve your child’s life and health.
No, dogs still cannot change diapers or cook. So, how does growing up with dogs in the family make life better for kids?
1. Dogs Encourage Healthy Exercise
Nothing can pull a kid away from the screen and into the backyard as a dog can. Kids are more likely to engage in physical activity when they have a furry play partner. And this isn’t just an observation. Studies have been done comparing activities levels of children with dog siblings and those without. Kids with dogs were hand-down more physically fit. Between running, jumping, and all the shenanigans our kids and dogs get into, it makes sense.
2. Kids Learn Compassion and Responsibility from Caring for a Dog
Not only do kids enjoy taking care of their best friend, they learn while they do so. Kids learn about how to responsibly care for another creature—and they grow up to exhibit more compassion. The best part is you don’t even need to trick them into being responsible, kids want to feed, walk, and bathe their dogs.
3. Playtime is Easier with a Canine Companion
There’s no denying that it takes a ton of energy to keep up with your kids. From keeping them entertained and busy to keeping them out of trouble, kids have way more energy than their parents. Dogs are happy to share the responsibility of keeping the little ones busy. All it takes to keep your family busy are some rope toys or plush toys.
4. Having a Dog Can Improve Your Child’s Mental Health
Dogs have a knack for making us smile. They’re also a source of unconditional love, companionship, and commitment. Between the laughter and love, kids that grow up with dogs wind up more confident, less depressed, and less anxious. Dogs are such great confidence-boosters that many reading programs now have a team of dogs ready to listen to kids practice their reading skills.
5. Growing Up with a Dog Boosts Physical Health
A family dog can actually lower your medical bills and improve your kids’ long-term health. From lowering the risk of allergies to encouraging a more robust immune system, dogs are just what the doctor ordered.
Kids and dogs just go together. Having a family dog creates a whole new world of imaginative play for children. Dogs also provide a lifetime of warm memories that they'll fondly look back on. We love our family dog and we couldn't imagine life without him. We just need to teach him to tie shoes, wash dishes, and mow the lawn. Just kidding. His contribution to our family is enough just the way it is.