How can a Dog Help a Child with Anxiety?

How can a dog help a child with anxiety?

dog help a child with anxiety

Photo by Alicia Jones on Unsplash

Dealing with your child’s mental health problem can be more troubling than dealing with your own. You are always worried because a child’s mind is too naive and sensitive to deal with anxiety and stress. But did you know that having a dog can help reduce stress among children?

You might be acquainted with the mental health benefits of having a dog for adults. Dog owners are naturally more active, considerate, and caring. Dogs provide a welcome and lively distraction from daily life issues that can lead to depression.

So, how does a canine help the case of your 10-year old staying too silent or anxious? A new study conducted US Centres for Disease Control, and Prevention answered just that. 

The study tracked 643 children between 4 to 10 years, with a mean age of 6.7 over one and a half years. After evaluation, they found no difference in physical activity, screen time, Body Mass Index between the kids with and those without dogs. But they found a connection between having dogs and anxiety.

A lower number of kids with dogs suffered from probable anxiety than those without dogs after the Screen for Child Anxiety and Related Disorders Test(SACRED-5). Here are the significant findings of the report:

  • Just 12% of kids with dogs suffered from anxiety, while 21% of those without dogs suffered from it.
  • Dogs were found to bolster the child’s confidence and self-esteem by responding to them in a better way than humans. 
  • Some children found dogs more comforting than humans.

Looking at the results, it might be a great decision to bring in a dog to play with your kid, especially if he is alone. Here is more about Dog Behaviour.

What is the best age to get a dog for a child?

Since owning a pet is a big responsibility, you should have enough time before adopting one. Leaving him at your child’s responsibility isn’t the ideal option if your child is too young. The dog isn’t a toy, after all.

You can buy him a dog whenever you expect your child is ready to take care of him. Kids aged 5 to 10 years old are ready for a pet, but you have to take care of the dog in the initial years. Getting a dog so early can lead to a strong bond with your child even when he graduates. 

How do you introduce a dog to a child?

  • Teach your child to touch the dog gently. Children should learn that the dog is a living being and can get hurt too.
  • Take your child within a small distance to the dog and wait for the dog to come to the child.
  • Put the dog on a leash at the first meeting until they are comfortable with each other.
  • Don’t give toys to your child on the first meeting as the dog might snatch and hurt the kid.
  • Ensure your child doesn’t squeeze the dog too tight, which can cause him to panic, and they may bite.

What dog breeds are kid-friendly?

  • Dachshund
  • Havanese
  • Cavalier King Charles
  • Papillion
  • Pug
  • French Bulldog
  • Beagle
  • Boxer
  • Poodle
  • Alaskan Malamute

These are quite playful breeds that don’t harm unless they sense serious danger. Having a dog will make your child cheerful and keep the atmosphere in your home lively too. You just need to invest enough time in his early years. But playing with your cute friend would become addictive soon enough.

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