Study shows kids with dogs fare better than those without

A study funded by HABRI reveals that children from dog-owning households are more well-adjusted socially and emotionally than those without canine companions.

The results of a recently-published study led by researchers at The University of Western Australia, and funded by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), demonstrate that young children from dog-owning households are less likely to experience difficulties with their emotions and social interactions compared to kids without dogs. The study was published in the journal Pediatric Research.

The team of researchers, led by Dr. Hayley Christian, Associate Professor at The University of Western Australia, collected survey data from 1,646 households, taking into account the children’s ages, biological sex, sleep habits, screen time, and parents’ education levels.

Findings indicate that dog ownership is associated with improvements in well-being and social-emotional development in kids. Specifically, children in dog-owning households were 23% less likely to have difficulties with their emotions and social interactions than children who did not own a dog. They were also 30% less likely to engage in antisocial behaviors; 40% less likely to have problems interacting with other children; and 34% more likely to engage in considerate behaviors, such as sharing.


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