Recently it was National Dog Day. Lots of pictures flooded social media of furry four-legged friends in celebration of man’s best friend. For those families who don’t have a pet and struggle with the decision to get one, there are lots of studies that show how beneficial pets are for adults. Pets reduce stress, help with depression and create loving bonds within families. Pets have also been shown to extend life expectancies in adults!
But what about children? Are pets just as beneficial? Many studies say yes. Pets have been shown to help children with emotional disorders, such as depression and also can help immune deficiencies in young children. Studies have also shown pets help children during times of adversity, like death, divorce and moving. Children form strong bonds with animals and turn to them for emotional support during tough times.
Thinking about taking the next step and getting a pet? Let’s take a look at the most popular of all – dogs – and tips to choose the right one:
- Breed is everything. Do your research and pick the right breed for your lifestyle and family. Dog breeds vary widely and not all dogs need the same amount of training, food, exercise and attention. If you have questions about dog breeds, talk to a qualified veterinarian.
- Preparing the home. Before you bring your new puppy or rescue dog home, make sure you have a plan laid out for where the dog will eat, sleep and a schedule for how to care for the dog. Involve your young children in their schedule. Assign walk times, help with feeding and bathing and don’t forget play time!
- Factor in expenses. Many families who have dogs for the first time sometimes overlook the expense of ownership. Research the costs of vet visits, food and supplies and bordering your dog if you leave town. Make sure you’re aware of all the cost associated with ownership, so nothing takes you by surprise.