Having A Dog Can Help Improve A Child’s Mental Health, According To A New Study


Growing up, I’ve always had pets – from dogs and cats, to horses, bunnies, and some rescued turtles, you name it. I actually wanted to be a large animal vet…until I realized how hard vet school was.

Everyone has awkward years as a child and teen, and my pets certainly helped me get through mine. They didn’t judge or mock what I wore or that I had braces and were always happy to see me.

My fur babies, Grace (dog) and Mika (cat) lounging in the sunshine.

In the past, studies have shown that families with pets can be more socialoutgoing, physically active and less prone to allergies. The APA states,

“We observed evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences, than non-owners on several dimensions,” said lead researcher Allen R. McConnell, PhD, of Miami University in Ohio. “Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.”

In APA studies, over 200 people answered surveys about their well-being and personality. Overall, pet owners were deemed to be healthier, happier and have a higher self-esteem (even after rejection) than non-pet owners.

When Your Child Asks For A Dog

Now, there’s a new study from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) that states there are far more positive outcomes for children when they grow up with a pet dog. Over 600 children and their families participated in the study. Each child had their BMI, physical activity level, emotions, anxiety and screen time recorded in a assessment. They were also asked questions about pets.  After 18 months, the children were evaluated again. It was found that children with a dog were deemed to have less anxiety than though without a dog in their home.

The researchers also noted that children with dogs can learn about trust, being responsible for something other than themselves and why it’s important to engage in physical activity – hyper dogs can destroy (((gasp))) your child’s favorite toys. So next time your child asks for a puppy, maybe it’s finally time to cave.

guess who won the dog parade costume contest? #weliveinthebesthood #theoandbeau A photo posted by Jessica Shyba (@mommasgonecity) on

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About the Author
C.M. Tenhundfeld
Animal Lover. Triathlete. Scuba Diver. Master Griller. Quirky Perfectionist. I believe talk is cheap, so I lead by example and let my work speak for itself. Naturally curly hair and a leftie – what else would you like to know?

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