Can pets help with anxiety

Dogs as pets take away fear from children

01.02.2016

Children who grow up with pets have fewer symptoms of anxiety. This is the result of a recent American study. According to this, having a dog as a family member reduces anxiety in children.

The researchers studied nearly 650 children aged 18 months and over (an average of 6.7 years). 58% of the children had a dog at home.

Only 12% of children with dogs as pets showed symptoms of anxiety when tested, compared with 21% without dogs, according to researchers at Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, NY. The study was published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease.

With a dog, a child can lose fear - especially social and separation anxiety. A dog offers many possibilities for this, e.g. as a magnet for others and an occasion for conversations, dogs help to break the ice, the researchers suspect. However, they have not been able to prove a cause-effect relationship with their scientific work.

"Having a friendly dog ‚Äč‚Äčalso lowers cortisol levels, presumably through the release of oxytocin, which in turn reduces physiological responses to stress," the experts wrote. "These hormonal effects could have positive effects on behavior and emotions in animal-assisted therapies ( AAT: animal assisted therapy) with dogs. "

Source: HealthDay, Preventing Chronic Disease