Who could possibly be sad when a dog comes leaping at you with the sweetest sense of genuine joy on its face? Slobbery kisses of adornment, overwhelming love and unwavering companionship when you're sad are just a few benefits of having a furry friend.

We are all aware of the joys that come from having a dog, but there are a multiplicity of perks your furry friend provides your family that you may be unaware of. Below are 8 reasons why children who grow up with a dog are the happiest and healthiest kids around.

1. Dogs calm your heart (literally)

Researchers from the Canine Behaviour Centre at Queen's University Belfast, found that dog owners experience lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels due to the presence of their furry friend. Dog companionship provides a sense of security that lowers cortisol levels in the human body, resulting in fewer heart attacks.

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2. Children who grow up with dogs are less likely to have allergies or respiratory problems

In a Finnish research study, doctors discovered that babies who live with a dog during the first 12 months of their life were 33 percent more likely to not have a respiratory infection or illness such as asthma than children who did not grow up with a dog. Babies exposed to the germs produced from living with a dog experienced a boost in their immune systems strength.

3. Children with autism benefit from therapy dogs

In the United States, approximately 1 in 45 children are diagnosed with some form of autism each year. These children benefit greatly from the presence of a furry friend. Researchers and psychologists agree having a confidant and true friend in their pet provides them with someone they can talk to and trust without the fear of being judged.

4. Dogs lighten your mood

Ever wonder why they call the most intense form of love "puppy love"? Dogs are naturally assimilated to happy and positive feelings. When a pup and its owner create a bond and lasting friendship, every time they interact with one another neurochemicals (endorphins, beta-endorphins, oxytocin and dopamine) commonly linked to positive feelings, are released in their body.

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5. Dogs can heal baby's skin

According to a recent study conducted at the University of Cincinnati, children who test positive to dog allergies, but live with them while they are young, are four times less likely to have eczema. The study further concludes that young children exposed to dog allergens could benefit from a protective effect against future skin allergies.

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6. Dogs can help children with ADHD

According to psychologist Jeff Hamilton, children who are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) benefit from a dog in the home. The child is able to play with the dog and release built up excessive energy, as well as calm down by petting and sitting down next to it.

Hamilton suggests that pets can teach children to plan and maintain a constant care schedule. The attention needed to take care of their dog can help the child plan and prioritize events in their own life, such as homework and hobbies.

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7. Dogs help young kids find their own confidence

Dogs truly are man's best friend. They are constant companions looking to love, adore and play with you. A young child that struggles with self-confidence can benefit immensely from a cuddly confidant.

A child who is too shy to talk about their problems or struggles can turn to their dog to talk about their built up emotions. Their dog becomes more than a friend but an outlet of some sorts; a trusted companion and friend can help your child grow.

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8. Children learn to be responsible

Looking for a way to teach your children to be responsible? Get a dog. Washing the animal, feeding it, loving it and cleaning up after it are all chores and responsibilities that can fall upon your children. The importance of caring for another living creature other than themselves will help them learn the important life lesson like taking initiative and being responsible.

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