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If you’re deciding whether to finally cave to your kids’ pleading and get them a family dog, consider this: it may help their mental health now and later in life.

A new study by University of Florida in Gainesville found evidence that dogs may help reduce stress levels in children.

The researchers asked about 100 children between the ages of 7 and 12 to perform tasks that typically cause stress or anxiety, including public speaking and answering math questions. Their findings, which were published in Social Development, showed that children who had their dogs present, as opposed to those who had parents present or no form of support, had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol when completing the task, compared to the other groups.

Having the ability to cope with stress as a child can lead to sound emotional health and well-being as an adult, notes the study author Darlene Kertes.

Previous studies have shown raising children with dogs can have multiple benefits, including increased empathy, self-esteem, cognitive skills, happiness, and more.

To start your search for the perfect breed for your family’s lifestyle, visit AKC Marketplace.


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