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Dogs are are a good natural remedy for stress in kids

Harold Mandel's picture
A girl and her dog

Researchers have found that pet dogs can help kids alleviate feelings of stress.


There is an old saying that a dog is man's best friend. If given the chance dogs often prove there is a lot of truth to this saying. As pets dogs may offer many potential benefits for your health.

Dogs have been found to have a place in good health care. Taking care of a pet dog can help you lose weight, which is very significant in view of how widespread obesity has become. And the US Army has been increasing the use of animal therapy with findings that dogs can help veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Pet dogs offer kids a very valuable source of social support

It has been reported by the University of Florida that pet dogs can help kids feel less stressed out. When kids are stressed pet dogs offer them a very valuable source of social support.

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Darlene Kertes and colleagues decided to test the commonly held belief that pet dogs offer social support for kids. Kertes believes that dogs may help children learn to cope with stress. This has great significance for a person throughout a lifetime since how we learn to handle stress as kids has lifelong consequences for how we cope with stress when we are adults.

Kertes said his research team showed that having a pet dog present when a child is experiencing stress decreases how much kids feel stressed out. Kids who had their pet dog with them during stressful experiences reported that they felt less stressed in comparison to having a parent for their social support or not having any social support.

There were lower cortisol levels in kids who actively solicited their dogs

To back up this finding the researchers took samples saliva before and after the stressor in order to check children’s cortisol levels. Cortisol is a biological marker of the stress response of the body. There were lower cortisol levels in kids who actively solicited their dogs to come to them and to be petted or stroked in comparison to kids who did not actively engage with their dogs as much.

Pet dogs can also assist kids with physical disabilities to take part in more physical activity according to Oregon State University. Researchers say a family dog can help children with disabilities bring more physical activity into their lives. This can lead to improvements in motor skills and quality of life. Quality of life has been observed to increase significantly in emotional, social and physical health.

Pet dogs have a great deal to offer for the health of children and adults alike. Kids learn the meaning of having a true friend while also learning responsibility when they have a pet dog. This has positive effects on their emotional and physical health which can last throughout a lifetime. Clearly an investment in a family dog can turn out to be a very worthwhile investment.