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These 4 Benefits Of Living With a Dog Are Pretty Great

Ann Oliver

1. Growing up with a dog may prevent allergies.

Another study conducted by the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin found that infants exposed to dogs – especially around the time of birth – were about 50% less likely to develop certain allergic diseases. As with the Finnish study, the researchers suspect that early exposure to pet-related allergens and bacteria strengthens the immune system and prepares it to fight off future attacks. The key seems to be exposing babies to dogs immediately after birth – kids who got a pup after one year of age did not enjoy the same health benefits.

2. You are Likely To exercise WAY more

While other pets have positive effects on your health as well, dogs have the added benefit of needing to be walked and played with numerous times a day. This means that many dog owners are getting 30 minutes of exercise a day, lowering their risk of cardiovascular disease.

3. Your Dog could smell out cancer one day 

Your dog could save your life one day: It seems that our canine friends have the ability to smell cancer in the human body. Stories abound of owners whose dogs kept sniffing or licking a mole or lump on their body so they got it checked out, discovering it was cancerous. The anecdotal evidence has been backed up by scientific studies, and some dogs are now trained to detect cancer.

4. Your Kids will be more Empathetic

Though one 2003 study found that there was no link between pet ownership and empathy in a group of children, a 2017 study of 1000 7- to 12-year-olds found that pet attachment of any kind encouraged compassion and positive attitudes toward animals, which promoted better well-being for both the child and the pet. Children with dogs scored the highest for pet attachment, and the study notes that "dogs may help children to regulate their emotions because they can trigger and respond to a child's attachment related behavior." And, of course, only one pet will happily play fetch with a toddler.

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