Owning a Dog May Help With Children's Psychological Development: Study

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Not only are dogs known as human’s best friend, but now studies suggest having a dog in a home can help the psychological development of children. The study, published in Pediatric Research, was carried out by Australian scientists who used data from 1,646 parents who have children from ages 3 to 5.

They used different socio-demographic factors, such as siblings, screen time and parental education, alongside whether the family had a dog or not to determine the impact of having the animal.

Researchers then measured the social and emotional development of the children in the home.

The study found that in families with dogs, the children were 30% less likely to have conduct problems and 40% less likely to have problems relating to other children. They also found the children with dogs were more likely to show sociable behavior.

The study also highlighted that the social-emotional benefits of owning a dog may begin early in childhood and that children having a dog can interact with it through play, which may help facilitate young children’s social-emotional development.

The senior author of the study, Professor Hayley E. Christian, told The New York Times that this doesn’t mean families should rush out to buy dogs, but said that the benefits are clear.

Owning a dog comes with responsibilities and costs,” Christian said. “But both anecdotal reports and research show that the benefits outweigh the costs.”

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