If you grew up with a dog by your side, you know what a rewarding experience it is. Having an adorable furry friend to play with is the dream for any kid. A new study suggests that there could be more benefits to dogs than just happiness. People that are exposed to dogs early in life are less likely to develop schizophrenia when they grow up. Having a dog during your childhood can keep you both happy and healthy!

Family dogs are one of the first living creatures children have close contact with. Kids can easily bond with a dog, which can affect their life in more ways than a parent could imagine. Serious psychiatric disorders are often linked to environmental exposures at a young age. So, it makes sense that exposure to an adorable furry friend would make a lifelong impact on a person.

What is the Study?

This study from Johns Hopkins Medicine looked at a total of 1,371 men and women between the ages of 18 and 65. Of those individuals, 396 had schizophrenia, 381 had bipolar disorder, and 594 had neither. Every participant in the study was asked if they grew up with a dog or cat in the first 12 years of their life. If they had a dog or cat in their family when they were born, they were considered to be exposed to animals since birth.

During the study, they paid close attention to the age that each person was exposed to a dog or cat. They carefully looked at the age ranges from birth to 3, 4 to 5, 6 to 8, and 9 to 12.

Study Results

There is still a lot more to research, but the results are good news for all dog lovers. This study revealed that people who were exposed to a dog before they turned 13 were 24% less likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia in the future. Of course, most dog lovers already knew that dogs were good for our health just based on person experience!

While there is still lots to discover, it’s clear that growing up with a dog can benefit you. So, make sure your kids get to spend plenty of time with dogs to make them happier and healthier. Dogs truly can change your life for the better.

H/T: sciencedaily.com

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