We are not a dog family. My husband and I are not particularly fond of dogs, so our son is not very fond of them either.
But for people who do like dogs, they are probably already aware that dogs reduce stress, especially in children. The cycle of play, responsibility and companionship that a dog provides children has been linked to less anxiety overall.
We are a cat family. And here's the thing: Owning a cat has been linked to schizophrenia. Granted, that link mostly has to do with a parasite that a cat could have (which may or may not have added to the crazy cat lady stereotype), but all the same, I don't think it is fair for people to think that cats don't reduce anxiety as well.
We adored our family cats. And our son still received the same cycle of play, responsibility and companionship. I think that any pet can contribute to reduced anxiety as long as the entire family likes the pet. So go ahead and get your dog, cat, hamster or ferret - whatever it is that you love in life.
Do you have a family pet? What kind? Tell me in the comments.