A Childhood Dog Reduces the Chances of Schizophrenia


Many people affected by schizophrenia seek treatments that come at a high cost. Photo provided by Flickr.com

Vanessa Covarrubias, Writer

Schizophrenia is always heard but never talked about. People in their young adolescent years as well as young adults are immensely affected but each type of schizophrenia and someone could never know that their friend has it. Although some symptoms may peer through since the symptoms could be less severe in contrast to people with more severe cases. There is one thing that could help reduce the chances of schizophrenia that is having a dog in a kid’s childhood by a specific percentage.


Schizophrenia affects a great majority of the world’s population and its effect on the economy is estimated around 32.5-65 billion dollars each year. People With schizophrenia are typically diagnosed during the adolescent or early years of adulthood, which means they have dealt with great in their past. 


Researchers have found that having a dog during a person’s childhood reduces the chance of being diagnosed with schizophrenia significantly. I believe parents should provide their children with a dog to grow up with so it lessens the chances of feeling neglected, unimportant, and/or unworthy to be cared for.


     There have been many studies on why having a dog during childhood years can significantly decrease the chances of schizophrenia by at least 20 percent. 


 “Recent studies have shown that dogs reduce stress, anxiety, depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and improve ordinary [healthy] people’s all-around health,” noted Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. 


Loneliness and neglect, especially at a young age, can harm the health of minds as they grow older. Dogs are very loyal to their owners and  provide companionship which can help with coping with schizophrenia.  


“There are several plausible explanations for this possible ‘protective’ effect from contact with dogs – perhaps something in the canine microbiome that gets passed to humans and bolsters the immune system against or subdues a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia,”podiatrist Robert Yolken. Add more supporting evidence here 


     While statistics support the theory of having a childhood dog reducing the chances of schizophrenia,  having cats does not necessarily have the same benefits.. Some cat owners choose to believe that having cats can have the same result as having dogs,. but this is incorrect, due to the risk factors of having a cat around someone who may be prone to developing schizophrenia. Catsats have a specific disease that dogs do not have, and that is the reason why dogs are therapeutically the more recommended choice by psychiatrists. 


    Treatments are expensive and it takes physicians time to figure out what works best for patients, depending on what types of schizophrenia it is.. 


Dogs can be a good investment while providing many beneficial factors; the sooner  a family gets a dog, the better the chances are of less mental illnesses. From a young age, having a canine companion  makes coping with this condition easier when they have companionship. I would recommend getting a family dog; it will bring  joy and a great bonding factor between family members.