STATES CHRONICLE – More and more studies reveal the benefits of having pets and recent research shows that dogs might lower your kid’s anxiety. The study was conducted by a team of scientists from Bassett Medical Center in New York. They assessed the anxiety levels of children above 18 months old with and without dogs. The number of children participating in the study was of 643 and their average age was of 6.7 years.
Before entering the study, the kids went through a series of screenings for physical activity, general mental health, screen time and of course, pet-related questions. They were then split in two groups: those with dogs and those without. From the kids who had dogs, only a percentage of 12 tested positive for anxiety. On the other group there were more positive tests for anxiety, about 21 percent.
Anne M. Gadomski, pediatrician and researcher, says she’s seen many signs throughout her career that point to the fact that children and dogs develop a special connection which can prove to be beneficial to kids. For example it even seems that there are children whose first word is actually their dog’s name, rather than “mommy”.
Although anxiety or obesity prevention cannot yet be linked to dogs, it seems that a dog can make you happier. When interacting with a dog, that is a friendly one, your cortisol levels are reduced through the release of oxytocin and this reduces stress. These hormonal changes can be the bases of the benefits dogs or animal-assisted therapy can bring.
Despite these indicators of the good influence dogs have on our lives, scientists are still not able to tell us for sure if we should rush out and by a puppy. The main issue with this type of studies is that the media tends to only publish the ones with positive outcomes. Therefore, it seems that there have also been many studies in which findings were inconclusive or even negative.
However, these studies were either not published or not advertised, so the public is being misled into thinking that pets can become solutions to their problems. In any case, further studies need to be done in order to get some conclusive answers.
All in all, whether dogs can reduce anxiety or obesity or any sort of health problem it is still unknown. But regardless of research, if your dog makes you and your child happy, who cares about preventing anxiety?
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