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The joy of pets

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

Why getting a dog may be the best thing your family ever do

In a study published last month, researchers in Australia found that pre-school children from dog-owning families had “lower peer problems and conduct problems, and higher prosocial behaviours than children from non-dog-owning families”. While it’s been widely accepted that older children and adults benefit enormously from dog ownership, this is the first evidence that even young children stand to gain from having a four legged friend.

How to try a dog before you buy

A great way to see if a dog will fit into your family, without the long-term commitment is to get to know a friendly dog in your area. Find them by downloading Borrow My Doggy, a sort of dating apps for dogs and humans. It’s a free service listing all the dogs in your neighbourhood who are looking for walks or just some company.

If you still need a little more coaxing, here’s three tail-wagging reasons why pets, and especially canines, are a man, woman and child’s best friend.

Love is all you need (and toilet roll)

While lockdown admittedly had upsides for some, (more family time, no daily commute), there have also been challenges, not least of which were routines disrupted, cancelled birthday parties and family holidays. Despite this, dog owning families have been quietly thanking their lucky stars for their canine companions, who have been busy off-setting some of the worry with daily doses of oxytocin (aka the ‘love hormone’) which is released every time your pup love bombs you.

It’s never too early to learn responsibility

Having a pet is fantastic for nurturing empathy in young children. Whether your child is old enough (while supervised) to hold the dog lead for a short while, or big enough to help brush and feed that fur baby. Caring for a pet is a lovely way to teach your child responsibility and kindness.

Exercise improves mental health (and makes you smart)

With the creeping rise of screens in our children’s lives, walking the dog is a great excuse to get everyone out of the house. If you can, follow The Daily Mile challenge, a simple way of getting children outside and exercising for 15 minutes every day. Last year the BBC sponsored the Terrific Scientific survey on the effect of exercise on 12,000 children’s concentration across the UK. The children that ran a Daily Mile saw improved cognition and wellbeing, compared to other groups in the survey.

Do your homework

Hopefully, we’ve shared just a few ways owning a dog can benefit your family. But, do make sure you do your research first, whether you are looking to adopt a rescue, or searching for a reputable breeder.

And, if you do take the plunge, we’d highly recommend this, Easy Peasy Puppy Squeezy by Steve Mann, an easy to follow guide to all things puppy-related.

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