How Puppies/Dogs Can Boost Your Child’s Development

How Puppies/Dogs Can Boost Your Child’s Development

If you’re a parent, you might have heard your child ask for a pet at some point. Maybe they want a cute puppy or a loyal dog to play with and cuddle. Before you dismiss their request as a whim, you might want to consider the benefits of having a canine companion for your child’s development. Here are some of the ways that puppies/dogs can help your child grow emotionally, mentally, physically, and socially.

Emotional Regulation

One of the major benefits of growing up with a pet is that they can help your child learn how to regulate their emotions. According to Kristen Antonio, a licensed clinical counselor and school social worker, pets can provide both co-regulation and self-regulation for children. Co-regulation is when your child seeks comfort from their pet when they feel upset, scared, or lonely. Self-regulation is when your child learns how to calm themselves down by soothing their pet when it is anxious, restless, or bored. Pets can also teach your child empathy, compassion, self-confidence and responsibility, as they have to care for another living being and understand its needs and feelings.

Mental Health

Pets can also have a positive impact on your child’s mental health as they can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. A 2015 study found that young children from dog-owning families had lower rates of anxiety than children from non-dog-owning families. A 2013 study found that dogs reduced the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military veterans, such as loneliness, worry, and irritability. Pets can also provide social support, companionship, and unconditional love for your child, which can boost their self-esteem and confidence.

Physical Health

Having a puppy or a dog can benefit your child’s physical health, as they can encourage more active play and exercise. A 2010 study found that children who walked their dogs regularly had lower body mass index (BMI) and were less likely to be overweight or obese than children who did not walk their dogs. Walking a dog can also improve your child’s cardiovascular health, blood pressure, and immune system. Additionally, some studies have suggested that exposure to pets in early childhood can reduce the risk of allergies and asthma later in life.

Social Skills

Finally, puppies and dogs can help your child develop social skills, such as communication, cooperation, and problem-solving. Pets can act as ice-breakers and conversation starters, as they can attract the attention and interest of other children and adults. Pets can also facilitate friendship and bonding, as your child can share their experiences and feelings with their pet and other pet owners. Having a pet can teach your child how to share, take turns, and respect boundaries, as they have to interact with their pet and other animals in a respectful and appropriate manner.


As you can see, having a puppy or a dog can have many positive effects on your child’s development. Of course, having a pet also comes with challenges and responsibilities, such as training, feeding, grooming, and vet visits. You should also make sure that your family is ready and able to take care of a pet, and that no one in the house is allergic or afraid of dogs. But if you decide to get a pet for your child, you can expect to see them grow and thrive in many ways, thanks to their furry friend.

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