It is no surprise, that most kids love dogs. And there are some real important benefits for kids that are growing up with a four legged friend.
Lets start with the most obvious one, which is physical activity. Over the time, children spend less and less time playing outside. Having a dog will make them to have active lifestyle, because they will need to walk the dog and they will play with it.
There are some important health benefits as well. Growing up with dogs reduce the risk for developing allergies, asthma, skin problems like eczema and it is believed that it is boosting the immune system.
Taking care of a living creature, and especially taking care of a dog will give the child a lesson in responsibility. You should let the child take care of the dog at least in some areas, such as walking, feeding or cleaning. It is great lesson for growing up as a responsible person.
There are other temperamental benefits as well. It is more than likely, that kids that are growing up with a dog will become more compassionate. They know how to nurture an animal that is dependent on them, which will make them more empathetic to others.
Accomplishing various tasks with the dog will help them feel like they are competent and will also give them a sense of accomplishment, which will increase the child's self-confidence as a result.
On the other hand, its not always about taking care of the dog. Having a dog by its side will make the kid feel more supported, accepted and safe. It will teach them what unconditional love is. When they feel sad, they can always turn to their dog. And in general, spending time with the dog, petting it and playing with it is a proven way how to lower cortisol levels and increase levels of serotonine and dopamin, which will make the child happier and less stressed.
Dogs also provide feeling of safety and they provide real protection for the kid. There are many stories when a dog saved a child from dangerous animals or intruders. But of course, not all dog breeds are capable of doing this.
Having a dog can also have a great impact on building bonds between family members. Dogs are part of many family activities and by simply doing these activities together, it will increase the time you will spend with your child or the time your kids spend with each other.
It is believed, that kids who talk to pets, whether by giving praise and commands or just babbling, show improved cognitive development.
And of course, dogs who are specialized as a therapy dogs can have a great effect on kids that has been diagnosed with various health issues, such as autism or ADHD. For kids with autism, the dog will decrease anxiety, meltdowns, it will provide sense of security, increase social interactions, encourage verbal communication and it will increase the ability to face fearful situations. Kids with ADHD will benefit by the routine dog provides them with, it will help them to burn out their energy and it will reduce stress levels.
Of course, i would not recommend everyone to buy a dog for a child just like that. In the first place, it will be you, the parent, who will be taking care of the dog. Who will pay for the food and medical bills. You must want the dog as well, otherwise it will not work. But if you and your kid like dogs and ideally you have some experiences of owning a dog, i would go for it. It will only make your kids life better.