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Children Who Grow-up with Dogs Have Lower Blood Pressure, Shows Study

Clinical trial had a sample size of 229 children, ages six to nine, chosen from two different schools in the Shoham area, just southeast of Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem, June 6, 2019: Being with dog has so many health benefits, moreover it is good for our overall health. A new Israeli study also confirms this fact. The study authored by Dr. Michel Balaish, Director of the Veterinary Institute at the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, has discovered that the blood pressure of children who were raised with a dog in the house were lower than children who were raised without one, according to Israeli media.

It is wildly known that having an animal in the house can greatly reduce stress and anxiety among pet owners and can even lead to a longer life. In fact, some doctors even prescribe therapy dogs or recommend that a patient adopt an animal if their anxiety or depression is severe enough, as opposed to normal medications.

As per the report by The Jerusalem Post, although it has been discovered in past studies that introducing a dog into a room will immediately reduce the blood pressure of a young child, there have been no studies conducted that have determined if children growing up with a dog in the house do in fact have lower blood pressure, according to Israel Hayom.

The observational clinical trial had a sample size of 229 children, ages six to nine, chosen from two different schools in the Shoham area, just southeast of Tel Aviv. The children’s blood pressure were checked at three different times throughout the day – during class, during relaxation and during times of stress (such as reading an excerpt from a text to the class). The process was tracked through questionnaires and daily diaries the parents of the children kept throughout the process.The blood pressure of children who raised a dog had an average measurement of 4.5mm Hg during times of stress, whereas the rate dropped as expected during times of relaxation, the difference was not significant to the findings.

“The study shows that raising a dog at home is associated with low blood pressure during stressful situations in children and that owning a dog has added health value,” Dr. Blaish explained.In a related development, UK-based researchers found in that by combining information from different senses dogs form abstract mental representations of positive and negative emotional states in people.

“Our dog Bamba gives me a sense of security and good feeling. I feel really happy with her and when I’m sad she comforts me. It’s fun to play and hug her. Sometimes, when I have nothing to do, I just lie with her. I have never lived without a dog in the family and I can not imagine my life any differently,” said eight-year-old dog-owner Yaara.

Yaara’s statement can be confirmed by previous studies in the past that have shown that dogs can differentiate between human emotions from signs such as facial expressions. However, this is not the same as emotional recognition, according to Dr Kun Guo, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Psychology.“This is the first empirical experiment that will show dogs can integrate visual and oratory inputs to understand or differentiate human emotion as dog emotion,” Kun told Reuters.

Experiments were carried out by a team of animal behavior experts and psychologists at the University of Lincoln, UK, and University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.They presented 17 untrained domestic dogs with images and sounds conveying either positive or negative emotional expressions in humans and dogs.The dogs used in the testing were unfamiliar with the procedure; avoiding any chance of conditioning. The vocalization sound accompanying the human faces was also unfamiliar.

“We used Portuguese to British dogs so they weren’t habituated with any words, they weren’t familiar with any words. So, we wanted to see if the dogs could assess the emotional content of the human voices and whether they would actually discriminate the emotional information within them,” explained Natalia De Souza Albuquerque, a PhD student in experimental psychology.

The results, published recently in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters, found that dogs spent significantly longer looking at the facial expressions which matched the emotional state of the vocalization, for both human and canine subjects.“What we found is that when dogs were hearing positive sounds they would look longer to positive faces, both human and dog. And when they were listening to negative sounds they would look longer to negative, angry faces,” added De Souza Albuquerque.The study shows that dogs can integrate two different sources of sensory information into a perception of emotion in both humans and dogs. This means dogs must have a system of internal categorization of emotional states. Among animal groups, it’s a cognitive ability previously only evidenced in primates.

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Study Identifies Dog Breeds with Highest Chances of Biting Children

Annually 4.7 million people in the United State are bitten by dogs out of which 20% require medical care. Among these predominately children ages 5 to 9 years.


Washington, May 25, 2019:  Researchers have identified certain dog breeds which possess highest biting threat to children. New research at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center identifies dog breeds and physical traits that pose the highest risk of biting with severe injury. Doctors want parents of young children to use this information when deciding which dog to own.

The study, published in the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, explores the risks of dog bite injuries to the face in children and bite severity by breed, size and head structure. Researchers found pit bulls and mixed breed dogs have the highest risk of biting and cause the most damage per bite. The same goes for dogs with wide and short heads weighing between 66 and 100 pounds. “The purpose of this study was to evaluate dog bites in children, and we specifically looked at how breed relates to bite frequency and bite severity,” said Dr. Garth Essig, lead author and otolaryngologist at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center. “Because mixed breed dogs account for a significant portion of dog bites, and we often didn’t know what type of dog was involved in these incidents, we looked at additional factors that may help predict bite tendency when breed is unknown like weight and head shape.”
According to Science Daily, to assess bite severity, researchers reviewed 15 years of dog-related facial trauma cases from Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the University of Virginia Health System. They looked at wound size, tissue tearing, bone fractures and other injuries severe enough to warrant consultation by a facial trauma and reconstructive surgeon and created a damage severity scale. Researchers also performed an extensive literature search from 1970 to current for dog bite papers that reported breed to determine relative risk of biting from a certain breed. This was combined with hospital data to determine relative risk of biting and average tissue damage of bite. “There’s an estimated 83 million owned dogs in the United States and that number continues to climb,” said Dr. Essig. “We wanted to provide families with data to help them determine the risk to their children and inform them on which types of dogs do well in households with kids.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.7 million people in the United State are bitten by dogs annually, and 20 percent of these victims require medical care for their injuries. Those who require treatment after dog bites are predominately children ages 5 to 9 years. “Young children are especially vulnerable to dog bites because they may not notice subtle signs that a dog may bite,” said Dr. Charles Elmaraghy, study co-author, associate professor of otolaryngology at Ohio State’s College of Medicine and chief of otolaryngology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. “We see everything from simple lacerations to injuries in which there’s significant tissue loss that needs grafting or other reconstructive surgery.” Dr. K. Craig Kent, dean of The Ohio State University College of Medicine said, “This research highlights a significant public health issue and provides a new decision-making framework for families considering dog ownership.”
The circumstances that cause a dog to bite vary and may be influenced by breed behavior tendencies and the behavior of the victim, parents and dog owner. “Children imitate their parents,” said Meghan Herron, associate professor of veterinary clinical services at Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Be a model for your child and avoid any confrontational or risky interactions that might trigger a fear or fear aggression response if the child were to mimic it. This includes harsh reprimands, smacking, pushing off of furniture and forcibly taking away an item.”

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Preferring Dogs over Children! A New Trend Surges in Spain


One region of Spain has officially recorded more dogs than children.

Over the last decade, the number of children and adolescents in Asturias, a region in the north of Spain, has slowly but steadily been declining.

At the same time, the number of pet dogs in the region has been growing to the extent that, the numbers of households that now include a dog have outpaced those that include humans under the age of 18.

According to a report published in The Local, for some people, inviting a furry friend into their lives might make up for not having a child. But there is more behind the story than first meets the eye.

If you ask an Asturian whether they consider themselves to be a cat or a dog person, they will probably answer the later and it happens to be the region that counted one million human inhabitants and 163,000 dogs in 2018.

Spain is certainly not the only European country that counts the highest number of dogs per capita; data from 2017 revealed 6.2 million dogs registered to a population of 46.5 million human populations. 

But this high compared to Germany, for example which counts about 9.2 million dogs to a population of 82.7 million. 

What is “dramatic” about the Asturian numbers is that they coincide with a decline of young people and birth rates: According to from El Comercio, the number of dogs has been increasing steadily by about 10 000 every year over the last decade.

At the same time, the percentage of children and adolescents diminished and since 2017, dogs officially outnumber young people living in Asturia.

Why dogs over children?

One reason, according to him, is the social factor and therapeutically effect the animals have on humans: “People who live alone find company in their pet, someone who understands them and that they can talk to, someone that makes them leave the house and talk to other pet owners”.

A study carried out by the Medical research charity Harrison’s Fund some years ago found that in some situations, people are more willing to help a needy dog than a child and feel more empathy in general towards the animal than a grown-up human. The reason, as the researchers suggested, was mainly the perceived helplessness of the dog in contrast to the human.

Sliding Birthrate

Spain was not always a nation with a low birthrate. During Franco’s dictatorship, big families were encouraged and by 1976.  Spanish women had an average 2.8 children, one of the highest numbers in Europe.

Over the next decades, the birth rate first declined, then grew again until the economic crisis began in 2008. Between then and 2015, it went down by 19.4 percent.

But Spaniards don’t only have fewer children, they also have them later than they used to – and later than other Europeans. While the mean age of the mother at the birth of the first child in the EU was 28.8 years, Spanish women had their first kid at the age of 31.9 years.

Economic Instability Plays Villain

Fertility is declining world-wide. But rates have in Mediterranean countries that also suffered most from the economic crisis 2008 compared to other EU countries like Germany, Sweden or Ireland.

At 32.6 percent, Spain has the third highest youth unemployment in Europe – just overtaken by Italy.

In turn this means that Spaniards don’t reach emancipation from their parents until they are, on average, well into their late 20s,  as data from the Consejo de la Juventud de Espana shows.




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