November 29, 2018

Pet Ownership: The Positive Impact of Pets on Your Child

Reading Time: 4 minutes

pet ownership young girl lying on floor with her pet pugFor many pet owners, having animals at home provides happiness and entertainment. Just like kids in the family, pets are adorable additions who can light up the day and bring a smile in our faces. But, don’t you know that pets can do so much more? Many studies are presenting the positive impact of pet ownership on your child.

When taking care of their pets, children become more responsible. They are after all, learning to look after another living being! This is one of the many positive influences on your child when owning a dog. Pet prescription—it is a term associating the benefits of owning a pet to the health and human lives. In this case, let’s dig further and see how pet ownership affects the developmental aspects and well-being of a child.

How Pets Promote Motor and Physical Well-being

When parents introduce a pet to their kids as part of the family, it increases the likelihood of a child to develop better physical well-being as opposed to a child in a no-pet home. Parents can identify this health benefit in so many ways.

A Dog or a Cat Will Increase Physical Activity Levels

Owning a pet can boost your fitness. This is undoubtedly true if you have a Fido as a great companion for an everyday stroll.

When you encourage a child to go on a routine morning walk with dogs, play Frisbee in the park or be involved in a regular animal care and grooming, you are keeping them physically active every time. The more you let them engage in pet exercises, the lesser the chances for a child to develop a sedentary lifestyle.

How a Pet Gives Your Child a Healthier Heart

Imagine how a pet could save you and your child from heart diseases. It is reported that owning a pet has an incredible impact on reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Merely petting or stroking an animal triggers an increase in serotonin aka “happy hormones.” This is the same substance that reduces stress level and creates chemical changes in the body to improve a child’s heart rate and lower blood pressure.

Having a Pet Improves Allergic Reaction and Immune Responses

Exposing your child to an animal at an early stage of life develops certain immunities and reduces allergic reaction in the body. Based on research related to childhood illnesses, babies who came into contact with animals in their first 6 months are less likely to be susceptible to respiratory infection and allergic conditions.

It is believed that a child getting exposed to pets adapts to the environment, thus strengthens their immune system and reduces a response against bacteria or allergens.

young child lying in bed with her emotional support dog

Mental and Emotional Health: There’s a Reason ESAs Exist!

In an age where a child needs emotional support and cognitive development the most, the addition of a pet in the family can be more beneficial. Introducing an emotional support animal can create wonders in your child’s coping mechanism and learning skills.

Pet Ownership Can Boost Self-esteem and Confidence

Self-esteem is something that parents need to promote in their kids, for them to be more independent and confident. Unfortunately, this is an attribute that doesn’t show naturally to every child. When kids struggle to deal with people or start a little conversation with other kids, a companion animal can be a temporary support system to boost that self-confidence.

Remember that pets are non-judgmental beings who don’t necessarily care much about what you kids look like or how they behave. Introducing a pet to a child offers great friendship and a source of strength to build their self-esteem. Pet ownership can make them feel more appreciated as well.

How Dogs or Cats Can Help Develop Coping Skills and Emotional Maturity

A pet can bring a smile to your child’s face. It also creates a sense of belonging and meaning. Allowing your child to own a pet provides mood-enhancing benefits which are significantly helpful to control their moods or emotions and develop good coping skills.

When a child realizes that a pet dog or cat is a constant companion and is there through thick and thin, a child finds comfort and security. Over time, you will notice changes in their character and how they progress into emotional maturity. The confidence a pet instills in a child is incredible, even more so the ways in which this confidence manifests itself in a growing child. The benefits of pet ownership show themselves in the strangest ways!

Relieve Stress: Pets are Living Breathing Antidepressants!

In this day and age, all we might ever need to get away from the daily dose of stress is quite simply pet prescription. Pets are stress soothers. Unknowingly, they provide a certain kind of calming effect in our bodies.

Encouraging your child to interact with animals can reduce anxiety and stress levels. Stroking a pet induces the release of happy hormones and a decrease in stress hormones. This biological process triggers a positive feeling, making your child feel comfortable. The release of relaxation hormones can also be beneficial in a child’s mental health and cognition.

Having a Pet Enhances Cognitive Abilities and Learning

Though books are helpful in a child’s learning development, animals are amazing at improving literacy in children. Having pets around can improve their cognitive ability. For instance, a child is more relaxed and confident when they communicate with non-judgemental animals.

Kids, who are not scared of making mistakes in front of their pets, will become more comfortable with reading books aloud. It is also believed that kids with pets tend to appreciate studying and researching scientific topics, especially related to animals.

Being with animals doesn’t only provide an opportunity to develop a child’s learning skill, but it also fuels new interests in them.

Valuables Life Lessons That Pet Ownership Teaches Child

Pets, like humans, offer remarkable lessons which a child can use throughout their life. They don’t merely provide entertainment and happiness at home, but they also share certain values that are helpful in your child’s development.

Interaction with a Dog or a Cat Improves Social Skills

Your companion animal can be an amazing catalyst for a child’s social development. Just having pets at home can encourage your child to go outside and gain more friends. This is true in the case of cats and dogs.

A pet dog normally demands a morning walk or to play outside. Letting your child be involved in these activities gives them more opportunities to interact with people and talk to other kids or pet owners.

These pets create bridges for your child to connect with other people; thus, it improves their social life.

Caring for Pets Teaches Lessons About Future Parenting

Perhaps one great thing pet ownership during childhood is understanding the very basic form of parenting. At an early stage of life, having a pet at home teaches your child the very essence of caring for and nurturing another being.

When a child realizes that someone depends on them, they learn to take on important responsibilities. Your child starts to understand some basic values of life and family. These include following routines or schedules, washing and grooming pets, providing food for animals, and learning the importance of prioritization.

Allowing your kids to practice autonomy can make a big difference in their approach towards parenting in the future.

Understanding the Importance of Companionship!

family taking labrador for a walk in a field

A pet teaches us a nonjudgmental, unconditional form of love and companionship. You must understand that this is rarely common in life but very typical with pets. Introducing an animal to your child is potentially helpful in building life-long friendship and memories.

It is more than just having a new member of the family. It teaches your child the importance of taking care of another being, watching over someone, and being a trusted friend. Unconditional love is a rare thing in this world. What better source is there to learn about true unconditional love than from a dog or a cat?

Pets are undoubtedly a great addition to the family. They provide unconditional love and emotional support more than most other humans do.

Allowing your kids to interact with them provides a significant impact as your child grows and develops. It is, therefore, important to give your pets the same level of affection and attention that your child gets. That is the true essence of family and pet ownership after all.

Author Bio: Maria Harutyunian is the PR team lead at Vet Organics. She writes about dogs and pets, in general, to help pet owners like her take better care of their furry family members. 

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