In two independent studies, it was found that pet dogs help give children social support and that a family dog can help a child with disabilities become more active and improve the child’s life.
Darlene Kertes and her colleagues from the University of Florida have documented how dogs can help reduce stress in children. Although many dog owners knew this, Kertes’ report was the first to scientifically show the stress reducing nature of dog ownership for children.
In another study Megan MacDonald, an assistant professor at OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences, studied how a family dog helped a ten-year-old child who suffers from Cerebral Palsy. Because of the dog, the child increased his physical activity, improved motor skills, and developed a better human-animal bond. These studies may pave the way for more research which will help both children and their families for the long term.