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No dog’s life for children who have canines in theirs

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No dog’s life for children who have canines in theirs

A study finds that youngsters who interact with dogs are less stressed than those who don’t

Senior features writer

The stress levels of most eight- to nine-year old children in a UK study went up over a school term, but not among the group who interacted with trained dogs and their handlers, the results of the new trial show.

The peer-reviewed research (https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0269333), which found that primary schoolchildren who spent time individually or in groups with dogs twice a week had “significantly lower” cortisol levels at the end of term, is the latest proof that companion animals offer benefits to our physical and mental health.

The stress levels of about 50 children from four mainstream schools and seven special education needs schools in the “dog group”, who interacted with a trained dog and handler for 20 minutes twice a week for four weeks, were lower immediately after each session, unlike those of the other 100 children participating in the trial...

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