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Kids With Dogs At Home Have Less Anxiety

Boy With Dog

Researchers find less stress in kids with dogs at home.

Image via Pixabay

Further illustrating the positive benefit dogs have on the health of children, new research has shown that the presence of a dog at home reduces childhood anxiety.

The research, which was published on November 25 in the journal Preventive Chronic Disease, was conducted by Dr. Anne Gadomski and her team at New York’s Bassett Medical Center.

In the 18-month study, researchers examined a sampling of 643 kids who were, on average, 7-years-old when they came in for their yearly consultation at local pediatric primary care facility in New York. Out of these 643 children, 73 percent had a pet while 58 percent had, in particular, a dog.

Comparing the children with dogs at home versus those who did not have dogs at home, the researchers noted a substantial difference in the rate of children afflicted with high levels of anxiety. Twenty-one percent of the kids with high anxiety scores on their DartScreen tests, which measures their health risks, did not have a dog while 12 percent did have a dog.

DartScreen is a comprehensive web-based health assessment for children which, in the case of the children involved in the study, was administered via an electronic tablet.

In conclusion, the CDC reports that future studies will be necessary in order to determine whether the connection exhibited in the recent study is causal. If it is, additional research will be required to determine how having a pet dog at home reduces anxiety in children.

Yahoo News reports that man’s best friend helps increase levels of the love hormone oxytocin–which has been linked to weight loss–while reducing levels of the metabolism controlling hormone cortisol.

While canines serve their human companions in an expanding variety of roles, from sniffing cancer and seizures to bombs and drugs, a growing mound of research shows that they also have a positive health impact on humans – from loss of excess weight to asthma improvement, heart stabilization to cancer benefit, and now: anxiety reduction.

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