If you’re looking for another reason to adopt a dog, this one could be the best one yet. A study has interestingly said that having this particular pet in the family could potentially help prevent your child from developing anxiety.
In the new study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, researchers analysed 643 children (between 4 and ten years old) in New York over 18 months to see if having a four-legged friend in their home affected their mental health in any way.
It turns out pups do more for kids than just provide a fun and loyal companion — they also help alleviate children’s stress levels.
Of the 58% of children with a dog in the home, only 12% tested positive on a screening test for anxiety in the study. That’s significantly lower compared to the 21% of children without a dog who also tested positive for anxiety.
The reason? Interacting with a furry friend means that kids have less physiological responses to stress, meaning their feelings of anxiety are curbed, as researchers explain:
“Interacting with a friendly dog also reduces cortisol levels, most likely through oxytocin release, which lessens physiologic responses to stress. These hormonal effects may underlie the observed emotional and behavioural benefits of animal-assisted therapy and pet dogs.”
We’re not at all surprised by the study results, as there has been much research done proving that not only is having a dog beneficial for the betterment of your overall health, the pooches also have unique capabilities that mean they can tell what mood you’re in. This is why they become extra cuddly and adorable if you’re feeling blue – they want to make you happy. So it makes complete sense that they would hone in on your child’s anxious feelings and try to make them disappear.
Conclusion: dogs are the best.