Living with a dog may result to healthier psychological development in young children, Australian scientists reported.

The study published in Pediatric Research found that children who had dogs were about 30 percent less likely to have conduct problems, 40 percent less likely to have difficulty relating to peers, and 34 percent are more likely to show pro-social behavior.

The Australian scientists collected data from 1,646 parents of three to five-year-old boys and girls, using a well-validated scale to measure the children’s social and emotional development.

Hayley E. Christian, senior author and an associate professor at the University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute, told The New York Times that although the study suggests the benefits of dog ownership among children, it is still an observational finding and does not prove cause and effect.

“We are not saying ‘go out and get a dog,'” she told NYT. “That’s a really important decision. Owning a dog comes with responsibilities and costs. But both anecdotal reports and research show that the benefits outweigh the costs.”

You might want to read:
– 10 times dads treated their pets like babies more than their own children
– Want to teach your children the wonderful world of animals? There’s a fun podcast about pets for kids
– When your children have fur