For many of us, dogs are a huge part of our lives and our families, and it seems kids in particular develop extra-special connections to man's best friend. Turns out, there's a scientific explanation as to why dogs and children get along so well.
A first-of-its-kind study of 100 pet-owning families recently found that dogs cause a physical and emotional change in children during stressful situations.
Here’s how it went: the children in the study were divided into three groups. Each child was tasked with completing a few math problems and doing some public speaking.
Kids in one group got to have a dog with them during the activities, the second group got a parent, and the third group had no extra support.
Before the kids started the activities, their cortisol levels were measured. Cortisol is released by our bodies into our systems when we’re under stress. So, the more cortisol that’s measured, the more stress you’re feeling.
The study found that the children who could pet or sit near a dog while completing the tasks had measurably lower cortisol levels than those without any support. The levels were also lower than those who had a parent nearby.
So the next time your kiddos beg you for a new puppy, consider the fact that it just might do them some good to have Fido filling that void in your family!