How Owning a Dog Helps Childhood Development

How Owning a Dog Helps Childhood Development

Family means everything and everyone, even your dog. That’s no secret though! Say you’re thinking of starting a family and you’re worried about juggling responsibilities between a baby and your dog. Your choices are at your own discretion, but you might seek comfort knowing that studies have shown having a dog helps childhood development. 

A collection of studies published under the title The Role of Pets in Enhancing Human Well-being: Effects on Child Development by Nienke Endenburg and Ben Baarda, having a dog in your child’s life can positively influence and benefit your child’s emotional intelligence. That includes compassion, empathy, and a stronger sense of emotional intelligence can benefit their overall intelligence and wits. 

The benefit of helping your kid’s development by owning a dog kicks in as early as the baby years. How? Because babies are learning, they’re being taught boundaries. With a dog requiring more gentle touching (while monitored), children learn respect. 

Once children reach the age of 5, that’s when they begin learning responsibilities when it comes to care of fur babies. The three major interpersonal skills nurtured by having a dog are 1) responsibility, 2) compassion, and 3) trust, and are integral for childhood development.

Here are some other skills and teachings nurtured from having a dog in the family:


Friendship and companionship can curb a sense of belonging and help kids understand the importance of relationships, especially seeing that dogs are incredibly loyal. This can tie into the teachings of respect and how to treat each other. 


Dogs are fountains of love; unconditional love at that! This constant access to love can aid and boost your child’s self-esteem.

Healthy Lifestyle

Dogs need playtime too! As your child gets older and more active, they benefit from the physical activities they participate in while interacting with their dog. For example, playing catch or going for a walk. 

While looking into this, we also found an interesting find from Michigan State University. They reported, “Research shows children who live in homes with a dog can possibly have fewer ear infections and respiratory tract infections and require fewer antibiotics, perhaps because the exposure to animals at a young age stimulates the immune system. Research found in the Time article, “Why Dogs and Cats Make Babies Healthier,” indicates that exposure to pet dander could prime babies’ still-developing immune systems and be able to fend off common allergens and bugs. Young children’s immune systems are more capable of facing them. Kids with a dog did better than those with a cat. The exposure has to happen very early in life. More information can also be found in the CBS News article, “Babies with dogs less likely to develop colds, ear infections as infants.””

Just as unconditional love is plentiful from dogs, the benefits of having a dog in the family are, too, plentiful!

This is just a sampling of tips and informational posts we offer at Joyride Harness. You can find more content including tips and tricks and how-tos for caring for your dog on our blog at this section. Feel free to leave a comment with tips you’re looking for!

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