A dog?! After all you have been through caring for your newborn baby, that’s the last thing you want to consider. You’ll be changing diapers for at least another year, and you don’t feel like stepping in unpleasant surprises from a cute but unreliable puppy. Even if a dog arrived fully potty trained, it would be just one more needy and mischievous being messing up your house.
No. You’re finally getting some sleep, and although things are still hectic, they have at least settled down into a new normal which is mostly in your control. A dog would mess everything up. There’s the barking, the chewing, the hair. Who’s going to walk it? Oh, you know who will!
But if you’ve stopped long enough at a dog adoption event, or have seen an adorable dog in the media who needs a new home, your heart may take you in directions your mind objects to. Don’t feel weak. It’s normal to love animals, and dogs, as they say, are our best friends. You might actually be doing your children a favor raising them with a canine companion.
Dogs and children are good for each other. Your child will benefit from having a furry sibling in the home, and the dog will have a lifelong companion and friend in your child. Children are naturally drawn to dogs. Dogs are cute, warm, furry and they usually like to play.
Dogs can tolerate the energy and sometimes rough affection a child may deliver. A dog will usually let your child know their boundaries. Your job is to reinforce proper behavior and respect toward the dog so everyone gets along. There is no reason your dog and child can’t have a great life together, and there are many ways they each make their lives better.
A Sibling Relationship
Dogs love us unconditionally. Your child will always have a sibling and friend in your dog. When children are upset, your dog can be a source of comfort to them. Children will talk to dogs, and even though they don’t understand, they can provide a listening ear the child needs. When they are disappointed or mad at you, they will turn to their dog to plead their case and air their grievances. When they are afraid of the dark, the dog can crawl into bed with them and make them feel safe.
Children will learn responsibility at an earlier age because dogs need things from them. They need to be walked, fed, bathed and cared for emotionally. Young children can help fill food and water dishes. Older children can take dogs for walks.
Not only does this teach responsibility, but it also increases the amount of activity your child will get. Dogs have a lot of energy and so do your children. They will get your children moving, even when they just feel like sitting on the couch and watching television.
Kids and dogs make great playground companions for each other. You can’t always have friends over, but your dog and your child will enjoy playing together. You can send them both outside when they need to get some fresh air or burn off some energy.
Dogs can’t play on a swing set, but they can accompany your child and enjoy many parts of your outdoor play structure. Dogs will love chasing and fetching a ball rolled down a slide. Some dogs might even be able to enjoy using a slide themselves. When they aren’t chasing each other on the playground, they can relax and hang out together in the fort area of the play structure.
Healthier Immune Systems
Children raised among dogs get sick less and require fewer treatments of antibiotics. Exposure to the germs and bacteria a dog provides helps build up your child’s immune system. They are less likely to develop allergies to animals if they are exposed to them at an earlier age.
Are there bad things a dog can bring in to your home to make your child sick? Yes, some dogs bring in dead animals or will eat animal waste or garbage, which can introduce harmful bacteria into your household. For the most part, though, exposure to dogs at an early age will be beneficial to your child.
To put it simply, dogs make children happy. Interaction with dogs and other animals can raise serotine and dopamine levels in the brain. These are where happy, positive feelings come from. Your child will be happier having a dog to play and cuddle with. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when a dog is showing its love for you.
Children raised among pets tend to be more compassionate toward people and other animals. Dogs can be loving, almost emotional beings and can pull at the heartstrings of your child. They learn to help care for them at an early change, which fosters love and interdependence. These bonds they share will help them create new ones with other animals and people.
Giving your child the experience of growing up with a dog can help them develop many life skills. The dog will appreciate your children, too, because they have a lot more energy than you do, and they will provide your dog with the kind of play you may have long given up.
Your children will be happier, more responsible and more compassionate, and they will live a more active lifestyle. Your dog will keep them moving, even when they don’t want to be. Dogs have a way of getting you to play with them, like bringing you a ball when you are trying to watch the evening news.
Don’t let fear keep you from enjoying the companionship of a dog in your home. You don’t have to choose between your dog and your child. As it turns out, they are both good for each other.