6 ways having a dog can keep your child healthy

Although I had a great childhood, there were two things throughout my early years that I constantly battled with: asthma, which I had a severe case of starting when I was at a young age and my absolutely over-the-top, insane desire for a dog. Seriously, I begged my parents probably from the minute I could talk until the beginning of elementary school and had all but given up hope on ever getting one until they FINALLY got me my first puppy as Christmas present in the sixth grade.  Well it turns out one problem could've helped solve the other! A recently released study shows that having a pet dog can aid in the prevention of childhood asthma.  



See parents?! I knew it all along! The study found that the microbes living on your pet dog may help to strengthen your immune system and stave off childhood asthma. And that's not the only study that proves having a dog comes with physical and mental benefits. Here's 5 other ways pooches can help the health of you and your kids: 

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  1. Dogs cut common cold risk. In a similar study to the asthma one, researchers found that the house dust from homes with dogs worked to protect against a common cold strain, the respiratory syncytial virus.
  2. They can help your heart—physically and emotionally.  Research has made connections between owning a dog and having a reduced risk of cardiovascular problems like high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Plus, other studies have found that with dogs as companions, people—particularly the elderly—feel less isolated and help ease their loneliness.
  3. They can keep you active. Since someone has to walk the dog, having one is a perfect way to promote activity. In fact, studies from the American Journal of Public Health have shown that childrens with dogs spend more time participating  in vigorous activity than those without dogs.
  4. Dogs can ease your stress. Having a dog is an effective method of coping with anxiety. Previous research has shown that therapy with animals can reduce anxiety levels  more than traditional therapy sessions in hospitalized patients.
  5. They can lower your medical bill! A national survey out of Australia found that dog and cat owners made fewer annual doctor visits and generally had significantly lower use of general practitioner services.

Having two dogs now, I can personally attest to at least a few of these benefits. So what are you waiting for? Go buy your kids an adorable new pup!

 How does having a dog help your kids? Tell us in the comments below!

Image via lil Moe72/flickr

Topics: family pet  how to parent  parents and children  mental health  array