Six Benefits of Having a Dog

Six Benefits of Having a Dog

Kynslee White, Reporter

Many people know the exciting reasons for getting a dog, but some people haven’t heard the scientific reason why having a pet can be beneficial to teens and children. Many children at one point have begged their parents for a pet, and I am here to give you the research-based reasons behind the well-being of getting a dog. 

Firstly is the factor they place on reducing loneliness. A 2018 study by the PNAS Journal showed that pets can reduce social isolation and can help kids feel like they have a friend. Dr. Ziegler says, “It’s a nonjudgmental companion who provides a steady, unconditional love”. He also says, “Kids will tell dogs their secrets, talk to them, and dress them up. It gives them easy entrée into a playful, creative, imaginative, social world—and they need that.” This shows that dogs can help us by giving us someone to talk to which helps make us feel less lonely. 

Secondly, having a pet to come home to can help with emotional intimacy. They are there to cry on, cuddle with, play with, and also give you something to love, particularly when you’re a teen. Studies show that a pet can help a teen build empathy. The pet getting sick, injured, or hungry are all examples of this. According to Zeigler, “Kids often say, ‘I had to be brave cause the dog was scared and needed me.’ It’s wonderful because kids who walk, feed, and take care of their pets learn to be responsible for something outside of themselves.”

Thirdly, pets can help increase wellness and health. A study in pediatric nursing reported that even just sitting with a pet for a few minutes will reduce stress hormones. Having a pet around all the time will help wellness increase even more. Dr. Zeigler says, “There are definite physiological changes within our body when we are around pets.” Some effects of being with pets include decreased blood pressure, slowed breathing, and muscle relaxation. He also says, “When you are in the presence of a pet you feel bonded and attached to, it increases the oxytocin levels-the love hormone in your brain.” This shows that having an animal can give you many health benefits. According to Stephanie Schoniger, kids who live with dogs tend to get less sick throughout their lives. 

Fourthly, the benefit of physical touch. Physical touch reduces stress and increases feelings of well-being. According to Zeigler, “When petting animals, you are reducing cortisol levels (the stress hormone that can damage your brain and heart when on overload) while at the time stimulating oxytocin levels (the ‘love’ hormone), that make you feel good.” This shows that being able to touch your dog can positively affect your body.

Fifthly, long term, and emotional benefit. Having a pet as a teen has a definite impact on development. Zeigler says, “What’s clear is that when kids are playing with pets, anything worrying them or causing anxiety or depression naturally subsides.” This shows that dogs have a positive impact on your development as you are growing up.

Finally, your protection. When you have a dog in your home, you can bet on a reduced chance of a break-in or a robbery. Dogs are always on guard and ready to defend their families. Also, robbers are less likely to strike when they see a dog because they know they will warn their owner, attack them, or significantly reduce their chance of taking off with goods. 

Overall, dogs have a positive impact on teenagers. Studies have shown that youth who are attached to a pet tend to function better in comparison to people who don’t own a pet. There are many reasons why and why not to get a pet, but these facts were all proven with studies.