Tag Archives: children

Human Health Benefits Related to Dog Ownership

You’ve probably heard about all the emotional benefits that come along with having a furry friend – joy, love, companionship, loyalty, compassion. But, what about the physical health benefits? Bet you didn’t know that caring for a dog’s well-being can simultaneously contribute in a positive way to your own well-being. From combating feelings of loneliness to maintaining overall heart health, canines offer some surprising human health benefits worth knowing.

In Sickness and In Health: Dogs Help Build Immunity
In great news for families who are expecting, or have young children, a recent study shows that kids who are introduced to animals early in life have lower chances of developing allergies and tend to develop stronger immune systems overall.

A Pawfect Boost for Loneliness & Depression
Feeling lonesome or down in the dumps? A dog is a wonderful way to help fight isolation or pick you up when you’re feeling sad. In addition to the built-in company and unconditional love a dog brings, activities such as walking the neighborhood or taking your pooch to a dog park encourage socialization with other dog owners. Be prepared to discuss your dog’s breed, background, age and story behind how he got his name. Your four-legged friend is the ultimate ice breaker! Plus, caring for an animal provides a great sense of purpose, which can be crucial for feelings of anxiety or hopelessness.

Must Heart Dogs
Besides helping with matters of the heart, dogs can also positively affect cardiac health. Studies have shown that pet owners have decreased blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels — all of which can minimize the risk of having a heart attack.

A Pawsome Way to Stay Fit
According to a recent study, dog owners were more likely to do mild to moderate physical activity during the week than non-dog owners. Dog owners walked an average of 300 minutes per week compared to their counterpart’s average of 168 minutes per week, which means dog owners are more likely to get the recommended 30-minute minimum of exercise a day. If you take the reins (i.e., leash), rather than pass off walking duty to someone else, you’ll regularly get to work on your fitness and stamina. Plus, who doesn’t like to have a workout buddy?

Puppertunity to Help Combat ADHD
Dogs have a reputation for helping children and adults feel calm and at ease, which is evident during therapy dog sessions. Thus, dogs can be healing for children who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. On another note, dogs can also help ADHD-sufferers with releasing extra energy by providing the child with a pal to run around and play with.

Puplifting Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Dogs are a great distraction and therefore help people who suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis move around and play more than they normally would, allowing victims to forget the discomfort, even if only for a few minutes.

Trained Service Dogs Warn Before It’s Too Late
For certain diseases, such as diabetes, service dogs can not only be helpful, but rather; save lives. Sufferers of diabetes may not always be able to tell when their blood sugar level is too high or too low.

Trained service dogs have been proven to successfully monitor hypoglycemia warnings through odor cues. Medical detection dogs such as these can lead to fewer 911 calls, less unconscious incidents and greater patient independence. Similarly, some medical detection dogs have been known to even detect cancer in as little as three hours. Scientific studies are currently in progress determining exactly how accurate medical detection dogs can be in relation to discovering cancers. Today, it’s a research area that will continue to be explored and investigated for commercial use.

Introducing Your Dog to a New Baby

Bringing home a new member of the family is a special occasion filled with joy and new beginnings. But with the start of something new, it’s difficult to know just how some will react (particularly, your first furry baby). Of course, a newborn baby requires a great deal of attention, which inevitably means time taken away from the family dog. That said, there are ways to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible for all involved.

Preparation Pre-Due Date
Make your dog more comfortable with a new addition to the family by teaching your dog the proper obedience a few months ahead of time, before the stork arrives. Start introducing your dog to new sights, sounds, smells and experiences. Especially if your dog has never been around children, you should socialize him to behave comfortably around young ones who might have less awareness of personal space than their older human counterparts. Take your dog places like a dog park or to a family member’s house with children and allow him to observe kids from a distance before slowly making safe contact with them. Also allow him to sniff out the baby’s stroller, crib and related products which will soon become a daily part of the family’s new life. A month or two before the baby arrives, start implementing any changes in schedule that are anticipated for when the baby comes. If you know you won’t have as much time to play with your pup, make playtime short but meaningful, and eventually your dog will get into a new groove. By the time Baby comes home, your dog will already feel some sense of familiarity.

Coming Home
While Mama recovers in the hospital, have a loved one bring home one of the baby’s blankets for the dog to smell. It’s better that he gets used to the baby’s scent now than for him to have sensory overload when the baby arrives. When arriving home from the hospital, let someone else hold the baby as Mom receives a warm welcome and excited kisses from the pup who missed her. Your dog can sense any emotions you have, so whether you’re feeling stressed or excited, make sure you put on a calm face when it comes time to finally having your dog and baby meet face-to-snout. Keep your dog leashed, use cues such as “back up” (a command ideally taught before the baby’s due date), and reward your dog with treats and praise for his good behavior so that he only associates the baby with good feelings.

Daily Life as a New Family
thumbnail-introducing-new-babyThough it might seem like a good idea to switch your time between baby and puppy, it’s actually much more beneficial to shower your dog with attention, praise and treats while the baby is around. That way, your dog will learn to love the baby as much as you do—albeit for different reasons. While balancing your attention between two needy “children” requires a great deal of multitasking and patience, even small gestures like happily talking to your dog while the baby is in your lap can make a big difference in keeping your dog happy and content with having the baby around. As your child grows to be more hands-on, your dog may receive some unwanted pulling and tugging. To prepare your dog, give him small, friendly tugs or pinches, then reward him with a treat. He will gradually learn to tolerate unwarranted touching from your baby. One very important tip to keep in mind throughout your dog’s acclimation process is that you should not punish your dog for aggressive behavior such as growling or barking in front of the baby. The outcome will be a dislike of situations in which the baby is involved, and he may even strike without any warning signs next time. Instead, you should implement continuous training to reward situations which involve your dog and baby together. Seek professional guidance if your dog’s behavior appears to pose a threat to your child’s safety.

Welcoming a new child into the family is a big change on many levels, but it doesn’t have to be a scary one with your pooch involved. Through small preparations and repeated positive reinforcement, your dog will learn to cherish the new addition to your family.

Top 10 Values Your Child Can Learn From a Dog

Families with kids are most likely to own a pet, so it may not come as surprising news that in addition to the built-in friendship and playtime that comes along with the child-dog relationship, there are a multitude of emotional and educational benefits as well.

Get ready for your furry child to teach your human child(ren) some invaluable life lessons, such as:

  1. Responsibility

Dogs require a lot of attention and on a frequent, regular schedule.  So, whether you involve your child(ren) in daily feeding, exercise, or even cleaning up after puppy goes potty, these chores will quickly teach your child the meaning of responsibility.  And with that responsibility, comes the unmatched feeling of accomplishment. By praising your child when they successfully complete a task, the importance of responsibility will be enforced.

  1. Compassion

Understanding and responding to a dog’s basic needs teaches kids both compassion and empathy. When the family dog is under the weather, take that trying time as an opportunity to teach your child the significance of being a caretaker. Explain that with the child’s help, the dog can be nursed back to health. This will reinforce the important lesson of nurturing and showing empathy for others who need comfort.

  1. Respect

Teaching a child to be respectful can be a difficult task, but through simple tasks such as petting a dog gently, acting as a caretaker or even giving a dog necessary space or time alone when sleeping or eating, your child will start to learn the meaning of respect.

  1. Loyalty

A dog is known to be fiercely loyal to his family and with explanation of what loyalty means – a strong feeling of support and allegiance – children will quickly begin to understand the significance and how to reciprocate that love and devotion.

  1. Trust

thumbnail-top-10-values-child-learnsDogs trust that their owners will take care of them and keep them healthy. This concept alone is a lesson in trust. Delving a bit deeper, dogs are often described as offering unconditional love. Whether their owner is sad, happy, scared or upset, dogs do not judge and do not withhold their devotion. This can be a step in helping your child learn to build trust in other relationships, too.


  1. Loss

Unfortunately, losing a pet is an inevitable and heartbreaking part of life. When a dog gets sick and passes away, it’s important to use the experience (depending on the appropriate age of the child) as an invaluable teaching moment. For example, learning coping skills as well as allowing time to mourn and cry are important pieces of the bereavement process.

  1. Physical Health

Playing a game of fetch with your dog is not only a fun bonding activity, but it’s also an opportunity to teach your child the importance of physical fitness, treating your body well and staying active for overall health and well-being.

  1. Patience

Bonding with a dog can be a process. While your child may want to pick up the puppy right away and snuggle her, puppy may not yet be comfortable with the child. This is prime time for a lesson in waiting for the good stuff. Similarly, training can be extremely frustrating for a child (and you for that matter). By explaining that with time and hard work, training will show results, the art of patience will be learned.

  1. Socialization

Anyone who has a dog can attest that these furry four-legged buddies are the best conversation starters! While walking the dog, you’re bound to run into other dog walkers who will ask you your dog’s breed, name, age and more. Having your child join you on the walk and answer these questions as well as reciprocate, will help teach the art of conversing and being polite. To this point, pets are known to be extremely beneficial to children with autism and other developmental issues, who may lack social skills such as sharing or making eye contact.

Living in the Moment
A dog sticks his head out the window of the car to enjoy a fresh breeze, jumps in puddles without fear of getting wet, chases balls tirelessly and shows excitement to express interest. Likewise, kids shouldn’t hold back when it comes to living life to its fullest each and every day. Following their dog’s lead, encourage them to take joy in even the smallest moments.