Has your child been pestering you for months to get a dog? Have you tried everything to distract them but they just seem adamant? Well, welcome to the story of most households. We all know that a dog is man’s best friend but can they also be a child’s best friend?
A dog and a child also seem like a whole lot of work and patience. But the benefits of having a dog certainly outdo not having one, especially if you have a child with you. A dog can also be child’s best friend and care taker! These days with I pads and laptops being the latest trend, children hardly go out and play or have any sort of physical exercise. But with a pet, they will enjoy going out and playing with the dog and in the process acquire that fresh air and sunlight. Dogs are also one of the gentlest creatures, they know how to act with children and are extremely patience with them. They show unconditional love and affection and will definitely bring a smile to any child’s face. Personally, being the only child, I had begged my parents for a pet until one day at last they gave in to my tantrums. Dog owners know what I mean when I say that, seeing your puppy for the first time is like love at first sight. Soon my parents and everyone who knew my dog couldn’t help but fall in love with him. As for me, I never felt bad for not having a sibling to play with anymore. He would follow me everywhere and wait for me after I came back from school with the happiest face ever. Before long, dogs become an integral part of your family even if you never expected them to. A child who grows up with a dog learns how to be affectionate, patient and emphatic towards everyone around them.
Scientifically, there are various health benefits to owning a dog. Cuddling a dog reduces stress levels, people who own dogs visit the doctor less, playing with dogs may reduce blood pressure and the list goes on. Children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem. A recent study has shown that babies with dogs are actually healthier than those without dogs, reporting fewer coughs, runny noses, and ear infections. The reason, researchers believe, is because dogs will track in dirt, mud, and other germ-infested bits of earth, thereby boosting the child’s immune system. Taking care of dogs, which includes feeding them, taking them for walk, giving them baths etc teaches a child responsibility. They also develop nurturing skills very early in age, this is practice for them to become care-givers. Low self-esteem is a major problem for children and this may lead to various other issues such as social awkwardness, under performing and worst of all not being able to make friends. It is proven that having a dog can help with these issues to a great extent. Children may feel more comfortable talking to their pets since there is no judgement from the listener, this will in turn help a child’s self-confidence grow and make them feel more open towards others. So other than the basic companionship that the dog provides, it also helps the child in being more social. Studies have also shown that dogs help detect various diseases before the patient even realizes. Children with autism and other speech or social disorders are also benefitted by having a dog with them. Dogs do not need words to understand a person, all they need are actions and their instinct can tell what a person is feeling. This way they provide comfort and companionship to a child.
So yes, having a dog means a lot of responsibility and patience. Some of the major concerns about having a dog is that it will bite all your furniture and ruin them- this is not true for all dogs, they will only chew on your furniture during their teething stage and there many alternatives to avoid this. Toilet training is another issue that one may have with dogs, but trust me it isn’t as difficult or bad as it seems. With the appropriate training a dog will never poop in or around your house. Hygiene is not that much of a problem with a dog if you know how to groom them well. Grooming a dog can also actually turn out to be a lot of fun and also teaches responsibility.
So the next time your child asks for a pet, maybe consider everything before saying no. It will obviously make your kid happy but more than that dogs teach you, care for you and love you no matter what. Doggy love is the best kind of love out there!