Been asking your parents for a dog forever, without success? I’ll share some scientifically-backed reasons your parents might change their mind, including why having a dog in the house means fewer illnesses.

If you’re a kid who’s been begging your parents for a dog forever, without success – this is for you. Here are some facts that might convince them to adopt a shelter dog:

First: You’ll get sick less often. Overuse of household disinfectants and hand sanitizers limits the variety of germs our bodies are exposed to, which lowers immunity. But dogs carry tons of germs. And North Carolina State research found people – especially children – exposed to dog germs get sick less often, and less severely, than those without pets.

Another reason to get a dog? You’ll be happier. Research at Miami University of Ohio found dog owners are less likely to suffer the blues or clinical depression than people without pets. Because dogs make owners more active, and produce the feel-good bonding hormone, oxytocin.

Dogs also increase interaction with others, which is a proven mood-booster! And University of Portsmouth researchers found dog owners have closer, more supportive relationships with friends and family, compared to pet-free people.

Dogs also reduce workplace stress. Because workers tend to take more breaks to walk or play with the dog, than those in dog-free environments, which boosts energy, productivity and job satisfaction.

Finally: Dogs make kids more empathetic. The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals studied a‑thousand grammar school kids. The result: Having any pet – especially a dog – encouraged compassion and positive attitudes toward animals, which improved wellbeing for both child and pet.

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