Your kids have been begging you to get a dog. It has become the biggest topic of conversation at the dinner table. Every time you pass a pup on the street, your kids go running to pet it and look at you with those oh-so cute puppy dog eyes (they’re good, aren’t they?).
Though you know how much your kids want a dog, you aren’t quite sure whether you are ready to say yes. Dogs are a big commitment, after all, and they come with a lot of responsibilities.
Before you decide that your house is going to stay pup-free, you should really reconsider. Turns out, there are some pretty great reasons why your kids should be given the gift of canine companionship – and why you will love having a fur baby, too.
15 Healthier Kids
If you’re worried that your kids will be more susceptible to illness with a dog in the house, don’t be. According to the results of a Finnish study, babies live with dogs during their first year of life are less prone to colds and other respiratory infections in the toddler years.
We have two four-legged family members; my first babies, as I call them. Both of my kids have suffered less illness than other children that I know who live in dog-free houses. Coincidence? – I don’t think so!
14 A “Fur”ever Friend
Pardon the pun, but it’s true. Dogs are the most loyal companions in the world. I have yet to meet a dog who judges someone based on their looks, their income, their smarts, or any other factor that others may use to pass judgment.
That said, dogs can help kids (and adults) feel less lonely. These animals are the truest of friends and will always make your little one feel loved.
13 Teach Responsibility
A dog is a big responsibility. They need to be walked, fed, always have fresh water, played with, bathed….
If you want to teach your kids about responsibility in a way that they will really understand, get them a dog. Explain the importance of taking care of your new family member and show your children how they can be involved with these responsibilities. Let them help feed your pup, take him for walks, and bathe him, for example. A canine pal teaches your child a really valuable lesson about responsibility.
12 More Exercise
In a time when childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels, exercise is more important than ever for children. Getting a family pup is an excellent way to provide your children with more opportunities for physical activity.
Your kids will get their hearts pumping when they take their dog for a walk, play fetch, or just run around the yard together. Not only will your kids and pooch get in some vital activity, but they will have a blast doing it!
11 Improved Cardiovascular Health
Believe it or not, having a dog can give your children – and you better cardiovascular health. Why? – Well, not only because dogs offer a great way to get some good physical activity, but they also help to lower stress, blood pressure, and heart rate; all things that make for a healthier and stronger heart.
10 Decreased Frustration and Better Behavior
Dogs have a wonderful way of making people feel calm. For kids, when they feel calm, they are less frustrated, and when they are less frustrated, they have better behavior.
Of course, that’s not to say that your kids will behave like angels all the time when they have a dog, but they will certainly feel calmer, and you’ll definitely notice how that calmness affects their behavior.
9 Better Family Bonding
Your family will enjoy even more bonding time when you have a dog. Why? – Because you will share a common love, and that will bring you closer together. You and your kids can enjoy some quality bonding time while snuggling your pup, taking him for walks, playing fetch, and anything else you do as a family with your dog.
8 Social Skill Development
A dog can help your kids develop vital social skills. They can learn these skills by talking to their dog, playing with him, and caring for him. Your kids will also be more inclined to interact with others who have dogs, or anyone who admires the family dog, and social interaction is a vital part of developing those social skills.
7 Impulse Control
Yet another benefit of having a dog: Impulse control.
It’s difficult for children to control their impulses at times (tantrums over not getting an ice pop at 7am, anyone?), but a dog can help them learn how to effectively manage their impulses.
When your kids see their pup patiently waiting for a treat or to go for a walk, they will apply his patients to their own actions, thus teaching them better impulse control. My kids have learned a lot of patients from our family pups.
6 Gain Confidence
Kids can develop greater confidence when they have the companionship of a dog.
Because dogs are so patient and they are non-judgmental, kids will have the ability to gain more confidence when they participate in certain activities alongside their pups. For example, a child can become a more confident reader when she reads alongside her dog. The pooch will wait patiently while the child sounds out the words, and won’t pass judgment if she stumbles.
5 Learn Compassion
Dogs have an innate ability to detect when someone is feeling ill, is sad, is lonely, is frustrated, or just needs some love. Because dogs are so in-tune with our emotions, they can teach children how to be aware of others feelings, and how to support one another.
If you want to really teach your child compassion, rescue a dog. Take your child to an animal shelter and let him help pick out a pup. Involve him in the entire adoption process. Your child will learn a true sense of compassion, from the start, when you bring an adopted pet into your family – and your dog will be forever grateful.
4 They’ll Learn How To Forgive
Frustration sometimes gets the better of all of us. Sometimes, when frustrations are high, we misdirect it toward others, which can lead to unintentional hurt feelings.
If you have ever interacted with a dog, you know how forgiving they are. They can be scolded, or yelled at, they may feel upset; however, all it takes is a pat on the head, a belly rub, or a walk for your dog to forgive your misguided frustration. Dogs don’t hold grudges, and that is definitely a life lesson worth learning.
3 They Teach Acceptance and Tolerance
You could put a dog in a room with people of all different shapes, sizes, colors, beliefs, lifestyles, education and income levels, and guess what? – That dog won’t treat any one person differently because of a superficial characteristic. That pup will play with, take belly rubs from, take a walk with, or lick anyone in the group. They don’t judge you; all they want is to be loved and to give love. Imagine what your children could learn about others because of a dog’s unfaltering ability to love unconditionally and not pass judgment.
2 How to Have Fun!
Dogs are always looking to have fun. It doesn’t matter if you take them to a three-ring circus, or if you play with a ball in your living room; they just want to have a good time. They don’t get hung up on the details. As long as a pup has the opportunity to have a good time, he will, no matter where he is, or what is going on. This aspect of a dog’s nature will teach your kids that they don’t have to be constantly entertained by the biggest fanfare at all times of the day; they’ll learn that they can have fun doing even the simplest things.
1 Cuteness Overload
Just when you thought your kids couldn’t get any cuter, you bring a dog into the picture. Kids and dogs are some of the cutest things on the planet; put them together, and OMG – talk about an overdose of cuteness! And who doesn’t want more cuteness in their life?