The Benefits of Growing up With Dogs for Children

Has your child been nagging you for a puppy? It might well be time to give in. Even though it invariably means more work for you, the benefits of growing up in a home with dogs outweigh the bit of extra work they may require.

Pet owners in the United States seem to agree. With an average of 1.49 dogs per household in the US, dogs play an important role as pets.

In this post, we’ll look at how your children will benefit from growing up with dogs by discussing the physical, psychological, and developmental benefits.

A Reduced Risk of Asthma

Being exposed to dogs early in life reduces the chances of your child developing asthma later on. According to this study, exposure during the first year is beneficial in preventing asthma from the age of three onward. However, it has no effect on children who develop the condition before the age of three.

A Stronger Immune System

According to the US National Library of Medicine, early exposure to pets also significantly reduces your child’s risk of developing diseases later in life.


The microbes on pets help stimulate the immune response. This becomes critical later in life in preventing sensitization that can cause allergies or disease.

dog hugging bulldog puppy

Better Self-Esteem

Giving your children chores is about more than just teaching them a good work ethic. Once the child completes them, they have a feeling of achievement. This feeling, in turn, boosts their self-esteem.

Children benefit from the unconditional love that a pet gives them. Knowing that there’s at least one being that loves them absolutely makes it easier to feel good about themselves.

With smaller children, it’s difficult to find tasks that are easy for them to complete. Helping care for the family pet is a great place to start. They might not be able to take the dog for a walk, but they can put the food dish down or help brush the pup.

More Compassion

There’s nothing like needing to care for someone or something else that builds compassion. Involving your child in caring for a pet teaches them that they’re not the only beings needing attention and love. They’ll develop a kinder and more caring nature because of this.

boy with a dog forest

Better Support Network

Children don’t always want to talk to a grownup about what’s troubling them. Kids may feel as though adults or friends will judge or criticize them. They’re also afraid that adults might write off their feelings, telling them not to be silly.

Pets don’t care what you’ve done or what you look like. They love unconditionally, and they can sense when their owners are upset. Pets do their best to cheer you up when you’re feeling down. Best of all for kids is that a dog provides the perfect confidant.

The dog doesn’t criticize, or even offer advice, it just listens. Sometimes, all a child needs is an open ear.

Better Cognition

Children raised with pets show an improvement in cognitive development. They’ll learn that when they give a certain command, the pet responds. Thus, they learn early on that actions have consequences.

Lower Stress Levels

Numerous studies have shown that petting an animal lowers cortisol levels in both the child and the pet. It works for adults too, so make sure that you give your pooch a belly rub often. It benefits both you and your dog.

Children reading aloud to their dogs also exhibit less stress. They can practice their reading, knowing that they have a rapt audience that won’t correct them or criticize them.

girl cuddling golden retriever dog

More Happiness

Everyone benefits from having a best buddy. We always had dogs and cats when we were growing up. I have very fond memories of all of them and playing in the garden. We were a small, tight-knit group and very family-focused.

Our parents were a little over-protective, and so we tended to live in our own little world. We had a small group of friends but never felt lonely thanks to our pets.

I have very fond memories of Pickle, our little pug. She’d listen to me for hours on end and was always ecstatic when I got home. Pugs make the best pets for kids because they’re so patient and loyal.

Pets Get Kids Moving

The final benefit we’ll cover today is how pets improve kids’ activity levels. Whether it’s playing on the floor, playing fetch, or taking the dog for a walk, having a pet makes your children more active.

Final Notes

Considering the wide range of benefits that growing up with pets offers children, it’s no longer a question of whether you should get a pet. The evidence is in – you should at least consider it if you want happier, healthier, and more well-adjusted kids.

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