Thanks to the CDC, kids everywhere now have some serious bargaining power when it comes to finally obtaining that puppy they've been begging to get since 2009. That's right, parents, you're about to lose this battle.
According to a November 2015 report from the Centers for Disease Control, the health benefits linked to dogs can help kids bypass some of the unhealthy pitfalls of childhood and adolescence. So in the case of Parents vs. Please, Can We Get a Puppy? Please, Please, Pleeeeeease?, we present the the following arguments:
Children with dogs have higher levels of physical activity and healthier body mass index (BMI), making them less susceptible to childhood obesity and the health issues associated with it. (Plus, think of all that time they'll be running and playing outside while you get caught up on the Real Housewives. Win/win.)
Dogs are insta-conversation starters, which alleviates social anxiety in kids. But that isn't the only kind of anxiety dogs help with--animal-assisted therapy (AAT) reduces anxiety and arousal, alleviates separation anxiety and enhances attachment. All of this adds up to better mental health. Raise your hand if you'd like mentally healthy children. Yeah, thought so.
You know the old saying, that dogs are man's best friend? Well, there's some research to back that up, particularly in kids ages 7-8 who rank their pets higher than humans as providers of comfort and self-esteem and as confidants. No offense to parents, of course, but sometimes the only person who understands how a kid feels is not a person.
Caring for a dog is not just a great way for kids to learn responsibility, but it's one of the best ways to engender empathy and compassion. And if you don't believe me, I've got two words for you: Old Yeller.
The companionship of a dog also offers kids a certain amount of protection and independence, providing opportunities for to explore the world around them. Think about it: an iPad can never do that for your kid.
And finally, parents, in addition to this vast amount of scientific guilt tripping, we ask you to consider the irresistible cuteness of Exhibit A:
We rest our case.