Paw-Sensitive Influence: Children Growing Up With Dogs and Cats in the Home Are 20 Percent Less Likely to Social and Emotional Problems as Adults, The Study Claims
- Researchers found that pet ownership was particularly beneficial for children only
- They looked at the behavior and social ability of children aged 5 and 7
- Having pets at home increases confidence and teaches social care
Growing up with a dog or a cat in the house means that as an adult, you’re 20 percent less likely to experience social and emotional problems, a study claims.
Researchers at the University of Western Australia found that pets were especially beneficial for only children who lived in houses with no siblings.
They studied children aged five and when they were seven to find out what impact animals have on their mental and physical health.
The Australian study found that small children with pets are less naughty at school and interact with other children more often.
Growing up with a dog or a cat in the house means that as an adult, you’re 20 percent less likely to experience social and emotional problems, a study claims. Stock image
The benefits of a pet are known for adults, from walking dogs to increase exercise activity to cats as companions for those who are alone.
Having pets at home leads to greater confidence and teaches them essential lessons about caring for others, reliability and friendship, the study found.
Even the death of a pet, while heartbreaking, can help children develop understanding of loss and develop their emotional understanding, the University of Western Australia study said for the specialist Journal of Pediatrics.
The authors looked at data from a nationwide study of more than 4,200 Australian children aged five and seven, including a psychological questionnaire that measures socio-emotional development.
The extensive study also looked at the strengths and weaknesses of children’s personality.
One in four of the study group – 27 percent – had abnormal scores, but those with pets were 20 percent less likely to fit in on average.
The scores were better for those with a dog or a cat compared to those without pets, the study authors found.
Overall, 75 percent of the children analyzed lived in a house with a pet, and probably a pet was a member of the household around the time they went to school.
The report said, “Early school age is an important period of time for acquiring pets.
“Pets can protect children from developing socio-emotional problems and should be taken into account when assessing children’s development and school readiness.”
Researchers at the University of Western Australia found that pets were especially beneficial for only children who lived in houses with no siblings. Stock image
The study authors found that children without siblings benefit most from their social skills, as pets help them socialize and relate to others.
They found that pet ownership is associated with less social and emotional problems in young children, and it doesn’t matter what the pet is.
“Compared to children without pets, children with dogs or cats had less emotional symptoms and peer problems, and dog owners had better prosocial behaviors,” they found.
“Pet ownership was associated with positive social outcomes for children, such as peer relationships and the ability to befriend and be loved.”
One of the things the researchers discovered was that interacting with pets can help children learn about social concepts.
They do this by mimicking the interactions children have with other people.
“Being positive with a pet can boost self-confidence and lessen the fear of rejection in social interactions with other children,” the authors claim.
HOW ARE DOGS INTENDED?
A genetic analysis of the world’s oldest known dog remains revealed that in a single event, dogs were domesticated by people living in Eurasia, about 20,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Dr. Krishna Veeramah, an assistant professor of evolution at Stony Brook University, told MailOnline, “The process of domesticating dogs would have been a very complex process, involving a number of generations, with characteristic dog characteristics gradually evolving.
The current hypothesis is that the domestication of dogs probably originated passively, with a population of wolves somewhere in the world living on the edge of hunter-gathering camps that feed on human-made waste.
Those wolves who were tamer and less aggressive would have been more successful at this, and although humans initially didn’t benefit from this process at all, they would have developed some sort of symbiotic development over time [mutually beneficial] relationship with these animals, eventually evolving into the dogs we see today. ‘