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Reduced Illness in Infants: Children who live in a home with a pet during their first year of life are also more likely to be healthier, compared with kids who don't live in a pet-owning household. Kids who had a dog during their first year of life had 31 percent fewer respiratory tract infections than kids who didn't live with a dog, it also shows they were 44% less likely to develop a ear infection.
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A Fitter You:According to a 2010 study in the American Journal of Public Health, children with dogs spent more time doing moderate to vigorous physical activity than children without dogs. Even though dog ownership might promote walking activity and motivate both the dog and the owner to go outside for some fresh air, you're not going to experience those benefits if you're too reluctant to walk the dog
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A More Sociable Life:A lot of the stigma against talking to strangers on the street disappears when you're walking with your dog. A study done in 2000 found that an experimenter walking a dog had three times as many social interactions than when she walked alone. That's because animals can serve as social facilitators. This isn't just a matter of small talk: What starts as a casual chat at the dog run can carry over into friendship or even a long-term relationship.
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 Reduced Blood Pressure and Lower Stress Levels: Alan Beck, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine and his co-researcher Aaron Katcher found in the early '80s that when people interact with dogs, "you actually get a drop in blood pressure -- a true relaxation response," he says. More recently, researchers in Japan found that dog owners who were bonded to their pets experienced a spike in oxytocin -- a neurotransmitter that helps us cope with stress -- from simply meeting their dogs' gazes.

We're social animals, so we gravitate toward this kind of bonding behavior: "Every culture has touch as a positive thing, because social animals have to be near each other," Beck says. Feeling a bit stressed? Try taking a few moments to pet or cuddle with your pup. He'll benefit from it, too.

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 A Healthier Mind: "The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too," Samuel Butler, the novelist, once said. As we age, it's so easy to get caught up in our work and our daily list of "to do's" that we forget how to play. If you let him, your dog can be a portal into a more visceral, imaginative, emotional world -- and a less self-conscious one.

In a recent episode of NPR's Fresh Air, Jonah Lehrer points out that in fourth grade, kids start to become aware of the possibility of making mistakes, which can hugely limit their artistic creativity. "All of a sudden, they're aware that you can draw the wrong line, you can put the brush in the wrong place," he says. Being foolish with our dogs can -- momentarily and hopefully beyond -- push us out of this state of self-reproach.

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Owning a Dog Helps Children Develop a Sense of Responsibility and Care for Others:wIt has been proven that children growing up in households with dogs, start developing at an early age a deep sense of responsibility for their well being. Raising your children with dogs creates an opportunity for new learning experiences and developing strong relationship skills that will benefit your children for the rest of their lives.

 

Reduced Risk of Eczema in Children:Preliminary research showed that children were significantly less likely to develop eczema by age 4 if they began mingling with dogs at infancy. The study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2011, followed 636 children and found the rate of eczema was lower among kids who lived with a family dog. In fact, even for kids sensitive to dog allergens, having a dog did not increase their risk of developing eczema.
 
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