Written by Dr. Carmen Battaglia not Fox Creek Farm
Many of you have asked about children and the benefits that puppies and dogs have on their lives. Here are some answers based on research findings. Pass them on to parents and to those who love children..
Finding # 1. Children who lived with a pup during their first year of life had better immune systems than those who did not.
Finding # 2. Playing and petting a puppy decreases cortisol and increases Oxytocin, a body chemical that promotes happiness, calms the mind and increases mood.
Finding # 3. Allowing a 3-year-old to put the food and water bowl down helps them develop self-esteem.
Finding # 4. Teachers who studied children and pet ownership reported that dogs and puppies are an invaluable aid to developing a child’s empathy and self-esteem for others.
Finding # 5. Autism. One in 45 children in the US are diagnosed with autism (ASD), which is nearly 2% of the entire population of children ages 2-17. Dog and puppies were found to offer the following benefits:
- Provided them a sense of security
- Decreased meltdowns
- Decreased anxiety and acts of aggression
- Increased a willingness to try new things
- Increased the ability to face fearful situations
- Increased social interactions and shifted the focus away from the child’s disability
- Encouraged verbal communication