Family Pets: What Getting A Dog Could Do For Your Kids

Adding a four-legged friend to your family is obviously a huge commitment. Dogs are a lot of work, and if you have young kids, your hands are probably already pretty full. However, if you do want to get a dog, or you are thinking about it, then you should know that they are amazing family pets, and they can do wonders for your children’s mental and physical health. As a family, you should only get a dog if you have the time, energy, and resources to take care of it, but if the only thing holding you back is wondering whether or not it is a good idea, then read on for information on the transformative effects that dogs can have on kids.

Teaching Emotional Regulation
There are two ways in which people regulate their emotions: self-regulation and co-regulation. When children are young, they rely on their parents for this, they seek out emotional regulations, and they really only know how to co-regulate. This is precisely why babies are soothed when they are held and cared for by their parents. However, as they get older, they need to learn how to self-regulate and regulate others, and this process often begins during their interactions with their peers. However, having a dog in the home can help to teach them more because they can be comforted and provide comfort to another, being independent of their parents.

Boosting Their Mental Health
Dogs provide their owners with unwavering loyalty and unconditional love, and this connection is often incredibly beneficial for the mental health of everyone living in the home. Think about why dogs make great service animals; it is because they have such a calming presence. They can teach children a lot about stress management, dispel anxieties and depression and release tension. This is, of course, linked to what a dog can teach children about emotional regulation.

Improving Social Skills
Animals – perhaps dogs more so – are great companions. They can provide children with the emotional support that they need simply by being present. Children can learn a lot from them when it comes to interacting with other living beings, be they humans or animals. Having a dog can provide your child with lessons on things like respecting boundaries, empathy, connection, and compassion. It teaches them a lot about give and take, and this can help them learn more about trust and forming healthy attachments. All dogs have their own distinct personalities, and they mirror a lot of behaviors exhibited by humans; obviously, they cannot be reasoned with in the same way, which teaches children that they cannot control the behavior of others.

Child Development
Early childhood experiences are key; they shape the people we are going to become; obviously, there are a number of things that go into providing formative experiences for a child. Introducing a family pet at a young age can really aid in their development. This is because owning a dog helps your child to develop their dexterity through play, language through communicating with the dog and their nurturing and empathetic sides through caring for the dog. Children are able to learn a lot of lessons through caring for another being. For example, dogs need feeding, and they need to be fed the right thing in order for them to be healthy and happy; this can teach children lessons about nutrition. They should be encouraged to ask questions like can dogs have black pepper? If you’re wondering, Native Pet has the answer, among some other great resources which you could use to teach your children a lot. They are patient and kind, and sometimes children simply need to feel like they have someone or something to listen to.

Learning Life Lessons
Every parent wants their child to become a well-rounded individual, and having a pet can really help. As mentioned above, caring for a dog teaches your child how to be responsible and dependable and how to care for other beings. It also teaches them to prioritize the needs of others. A dog needs you to be there. You can’t just leave it alone for hours and hours on end. Dogs require patience which children are notoriously lacking. Finally, while, of course, heartbreaking to think about, the dog is going to die. Pets are often a child’s first experience of death, and this can teach them a lot about loss and grief and how to deal with those emotions. They can learn coping skills and how to process those emotions.

Encouraging Exercise & Physical Activity
Dogs need to be played with, they need exercise, and they need to be mentally stimulated. Children today tend to spend more time indoors on electronics than in previous generations. Having a dog can give your family a reason to get out into the outdoors, into the fresh air, and do some exercise. Obviously, exercise is important for your family’s health. In addition to this, having a pet in the home can actually reduce your child’s risk of developing allergies and boost their immune system, too, because they are going to be exposed to dirt and pet dander from an early age as opposed to things being too clean.

The Bottom Line
Choosing to get a dog is a big decision; you are making a huge commitment to the animal, and unless you are ready for this and prepared to give it the care that it deserves, then you shouldn’t get one; dogs can live for decades, remember? However, if you are ready, then a dog does make a wonderful family pet. Having a pet is great for children, and they do soon become a member of the family after all. The benefits to children are incredible, and it is well worth considering. Most children will ask their parents for a pet eventually, and before you turn them down, you might want to give it some thought. Of course, you will need to consider what is best for your family, and this might mean getting a pet, but not necessarily a dog and this is fine too. Most of the benefits above are applicable to other animals too.

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