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Children with pets have less stress and anxiety.

Stashed in: Best PandaWhale Posts, Stress, Children, @ifindkarma, Awesome, Parents, Anxiety, @emmaseppala, @emilialahti, Stress, Mental Health, Oxytocin

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Among the 58% of children with a dog in the home, 12% tested positive on a screening test for anxiety, compared with 21% of children who did not have a pet dog.

A strength of the study is that it was carried out in a real-world setting and was based on children in preventive care, a far larger and more inclusive group than in previous studies, which focused on children with mental and developmental disorders. 

Parental reporting could be a limitation, although statistics have shown high concordance between actual mental health issues and what parents say. Also, the population was 96% white, suggesting a need for further study in more racially and ethnically diverse populations.

The researchers suggest:

"Interacting with a friendly dog also reduces cortisol levels, most likely through oxytocin release, which lessens physiologic responses to stress. These hormonal effects may underlie the observed emotional and behavioral benefits of animal-assisted therapy and pet dogs."

Medical News Today reported recently that animals can detect mood changes and even illness in humans.

Wow, this is simply amazing!! Thanks ever so much for posting :-) :-) 

You are very welcome, Milind. :)

Top Reddit comment:

If you see anxiety as a response to unexpected uncertainty, it makes sense that having a dog in your life would decrease anxiety because of their predictable, and positive, behaviors.

Even if your kid is anxious because they don't seem to be able to make as many friends as they want, or because they don't know why they're getting bad marks, or they don't know if their parent will get them from school at the exit hour or 30 minutes later, or if their parents are going to fight at dinner tonight, or whatever is making them anxious... they know they can get home and they'll have a friend with a smile and a constant, predictable, not unexpected at all, positive behavior.

One consequence of having a 90lb dog is that our 2yo will now calmly walk up to any four-legged beast and grab it by both jowls. It is likely I need to retitle my "revisiting self-preservation traits" bedtime lesson plan.

Ha! Yes, it's important that the child learn not to try to grab a bear or mountain lion by both jowels!

It's interesting that the researchers specifically investigated dogs. 

I wonder if cats have similar benefits. I hope so.

i was wondering the same thing.  i would guess yes.  seems like any pet that you love and care for would help you release oxytocin. 

True, but there's something about the way dogs look at you adoringly. Not all cats do that. 

Dogs depend on us for food, grooming, bath time, shelter, special snacks, snoot boops and hooman massages.  They know EXACTLY what they're doing.

Cats know exactly what they're doing too but they are less dependent on us.

They're less into snoot boops and they're not into bath time. 

yesterday my neighbor's cat came over and it was like having an annoyed teenager mewing around my house, complaining of his general malaise while i tried to work!

still, i loved it.  probably released oxytocin.

Oxytocin cloud:

oxytocin cloud over Mars gif imgur

Cats CAN be like surly teenagers.  :-)

That's SOME oxytocin cloud!

An annoyed teenager mewing is a funny visual.

I don't think cats think of us as friends. I think they think of us as servants. 


cats definitely think of us as servants.  they are masterful users of the force.

Now I'm wondering if they're more like Darth Vader or more like Obi Wan Kenobi. 

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