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Dec 9 2016

Getting a dog can reduce children’s anxiety

According to a study published in Preventing Chronic Disease, researchers in upstate New York looked into the rarely investigated link between dog ownership and childhood well-being. Given that adult-based studies have long connected dog ownership with physical activity levels, healthy body weight and mental health, study leaders investigated the same areas among youth subjects.

Over an 18-month period, 643 children between the ages of 4-10 years old were interviewed prior to their annual check-ups. While researchers noted no difference in body mass index, physical activity or screen time between children with dogs at home and those without, there was a statistically significant difference in one key mental health issue. Just 12 percent of children with pet dogs in the home had anxiety disorders compared to 21 percent of children without pet dogs. Further research is needed to determine if this link is indeed causal and if so, how pet dogs reduce anxiety among children.

Tags: children well-being,pet therapy,

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