We have all seen it, the smiles and laughter that follow when a child is engaged with a dog or cat in play. There is no doubt that this is a good thing, only now we have a pretty comprehensive study to back it up. The research consisted of over one million Swedish children that ran from 2001 to 2010 revealing some pretty interesting results.
With over a million children involved in this study, researchers found that those kids who grew up with dogs in the home
were 15 percent less likely to develop asthma than those who were not exposed to dogs at a young age. The study also revealed that exposure to dogs at a young age can relate to a child's mental health in later years. Having “positive interactions between the child and a pet dog” can prevent the evolution of certain mental problems later in life from becoming a more serious issue.
Researchers also found that out of 643 kids, between the ages of 6 and 7, data showed that the 370 who had a dog showed a significant disparity between those kids who did not have a dog in reducing or eliminating social anxiety in their later years. It should also be noted that those of you out there who are cat lovers, the research team was quick to surface that cats can provide the same thing as dogs.
Pets have played such an important and vital role in the evolution of human societies from around the world. When studies like this are completed, when inferences are drawn based on large study groups with greater scope than most, it is refreshing to see that the data and science back up what many of us already knew.