Five benefits of Pet-Ownership on the wellbeing of our children

A house without a pet is like pantry without chocolate – it’s okay, but could use a little joy.

It’s evident that pets are our link to paradise. They don’t know jealousy (well, maybe just a bit), evil or discontent. To sit with your pet on a hillside on a splendid afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing just that – enjoying isn’t called “doing nothing” but it’s called “peace”.

Apart from the enjoyment and love part, what’s also good to know is that there is evidence pointing at multiple benefits of pet-owning for a child’s development and his/hers healthy upbringing. Additionally, children with social, emotional, behavioural or learning disabilities/disorders can extremely benefit from the presence of and interaction with a companion animal. Kids who are typically introvert become more confident and their quality of life improves immensely. As for the kids who are hyperactive, their focus on learning becomes clearer and their behaviour gets positively changed.

Pets aren’t a phenomenal option for kids only but for the adults, as well. Interacting with these lovely creatures, adults are prone to put aside their ongoing problems and re-shift the energy to love and play. With this, they immediately become happier, more cheerful and optimistic.

For every household which is holding pets or considering to get a pet for their child, here are the benefits that’ll arise from this decision.

In short, this is what owning a pet will do for your child:

1. Releases endorphins

Releasing endorphins (hormones of happiness) is crucial in a child’s life. Interacting with pets helps release this hormone into the brain, helping the child feel content and loved. Solid proof to the beneficial aspect of pet owning is the numerous hospitals that now include a pet therapy program. Namely, the goal is to help young patients feel comfortable and relaxed by having animals around in a medical environment. And it’s not just that – patient recovery process appears to increase through positive interaction with the pets.

2. Builds up the immune system

Research has shown that a child’s immune system is shaped up with pet ownership. Kids who get to spend their early childhood with a dog or a cat have a lower incidence of asthma and hay fever and are less likely to develop animal-related allergies. It is also great to learn that, according to the recent research, pet-owning families are more stable than those of children from non-pet owning families; the kids from the pet-owning families have proven to have built strong immune systems, particularly between the ages of five and eight. Also, they are known to fend off illness easier.

Additionally, pets can help speed up recovery time, lower blood pressure and reduce stress and anxiety. Children can immediately sense that the animals are unconditional in their love and affection which is making them feel joyful and loved.

However, note that caring for your pets’ health must be taken seriously; if the pets aren’t properly groomed and looked after, they can develop diseases that are transmitted to people. One of the most common diseases with such effect is Migrans Toxocara canis, so make sure you care for your pet properly.

3. Improves physical health

In the world that’s gone virtual and lifestyles that are becoming increasingly sedentary, having your child play outside is bliss! The animal magic is what will ensure this happens, which will be significantly increasing your child’s physical health. Plus, there’s exercise – for families that own a dog, walking or playing with it outside will be amazing for both the child and the dog. Then, playing chase with a cat indoors is a great way for people to burn a few more calories.

4. Increases the desire for socialising and increases verbal skills

It’s honest, it’s emotional, it’s beautiful! Looking at the kids cuddle and snuggle with the pets while still learning to talk is beyond adorable and, at the same time, very powerful. Kids who are still learning to interact will first attempt this with their pets and, in such a way, get not only social and emotional support but also their cognitive language skills will upgrade. It is safe to say that “a pet’s simple presence provides verbal stimulus to help your child practice talking and socialising with another being”.

5. Builds up self-esteem and teaches responsibility

Get your child a dog and you’ll witness positive attitude changes in their behaviour almost immediately! In caring for an animal, children are acquiring foundation skills required for parenting. Additionally, “passage through the teenage years – a difficult time for many – is facilitated by a relationship with a non- judgmental, ever supportive animal friend in whom one can confide fears and worries”.

The best choice you can make for your child is to get them a pet they’ll adore. After all, with so many benefits coming with this decision, why would anyone doubt it, right?

Further, a child who owns a pet will, from early age, develop a sense of responsibility for another human being through chores like walking the pet, feeding them, helping them sleep, etc. A simple act of buying dog supplies noted in your kid’s “must do” calendar will mean a lot for their character build-up in the long run!

By Olivia Williams Jones – Olivia is psychologist, dedicated to making some changes in the world, starting from her own environment. She is a proud mum of two silly boxers, Teo and Mia and is also a passionate writer about pets, parenting and healthy living. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.