Canine MD: Eight
Ways a Dog Improves Your Child’s Well-Being
By James Jacobson and Kristine
Some of our favorite childhood memories involve dogs. But did you
know that warm feeling is based in good science? Here are eight ways
a dog improves your child’s health and well-being.
Dogs enhance your child’s cognitive and social development. Family
ownership of a dog or other pet increases your child’s ability to
use his whole brain. Children with pets at home also score
significantly higher on empathy and pro-social scales than children
Dogs boost your child’s self-esteem. A study of 394 university
students revealed that those who had dogs or cats as childhood pets
were more self-confident than those who had not.
Dogs reduce your child’s stress. One study concluded that children
who had a dog present during their physical examinations had lower
heart rates, reduced blood pressure and less behavioral distress
than when the dog was not present.
Dogs develop your child’s non-verbal communication skills. Dogs are
wonderful playmates and sympathetic listeners, but they also
stimulate communication skills in children. A study of 455 school
children between the ages of 11 and 16 revealed that children with
pets had a better ability to understand non-verbal communications.
Dogs teach your child responsibility and discipline. Pets require a
great deal of attention, guidance and care. In return for feeding,
grooming and exercising their pets, children obtain companionship
and unconditional love.
Dogs help decrease your child’s allergies. The UK Pet Health Council
reports that children brought up around dogs have a lower incidence
of hay fever and asthma, as well as more stable immune systems. This
is doubly good news, since researchers at the US National Institutes
of Health report that people with allergic responses has doubled in
the last thirty years.
Dogs help your child cope with life situations. Dogs can help ease
the stress your child may feel with the arrival of a new sibling.
Children are better able to share their parents’ attention, as well
as understanding what is involved in caring for another. Children
learn about medical issues and illness as they experience veterinary
check-ups and treatments for their dogs. Dogs also help children
better comprehend and cope with death.
Dogs alleviate loneliness in ‘tweens. A Canadian study of children
between nine and thirteen showed that many turned to animals for
companionship when they felt lonely. The children cited dogs and
cats as offering emotional support—listening, protecting, reassuring
and/or showing appreciation for the child’s presence. The study also
found that girls turned to animals more than boys.
Does that mean you should run to your nearest shelter and pick out
the cutest dog you find? Not necessarily. Some dogs are better with
children than others, and dogs require a commitment of time, money,
and responsibility from parents, too. But opening your heart and
your home to Fido or Freckles may be just the thing to get
everyone’s tail wagging just a little bit more.
Six Ways Your Dog Can Save Your Heart
Science has finally caught up with what dog lovers have known for
years—that having a dog is great for your health. Here are six ways
science has proven that living with a dog promotes better heart
Nine Ways a Dog Boosts Your Health
What if there was a simple way to reduce stress,
prolong and improve the quality of your life, banish the blues, and
best of all, decrease the number of doctor visits? There is! Get a
dog. Here are nine ways that having a dog can boost your health.
Bow Wow Bliss: Five
Ways to Meditate with Your Dog
Meditation is as simple as a walk in the dog park.
Here are five ways to get started on a non-dogmatic meditation
Compassion in Times of Crisis: How Your Dog Can Help
People have a special connection with their
pets. This sacred bond of unconditional love is a natural starting
place for healing after tragedy, for the victims and for the rest of
James Jacobson and Kristine Chandler Madera are
authors of How to Meditate with Your Dog: An Introduction to
Meditation for Dog Lovers, which presents a non-dogmatic approach to
meditation. To fetch a free chapter from the book (chapter 3 “The
Three Un-Dogmas”) and the introduction from the audiobook go to
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