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Why Every Child Should Have a Pet

by on 24/05/2021 4371

Most children are fascinated by animals; they love to visit zoos, animal parks and petting farms. It may be the cute fluffiness of a baby animal, the joy of having a companion to play with or the many unique characteristics of animals that enthrall them.

Best pets for children (that are not dogs or cats)

Benefits of having a family pet

If your child has been continually asking for a pet and you are on the fence about having one, here are seven reasons why pets are great for children:

1. Teach responsibility

Pet-related chores such as filling its food and water bowls teach children responsibility and how to care for something that is dependent on them. If there is more than one child in the family, the chores can be divided among them on alternate days. This also helps strengthen the bond between siblings.  


2. Help children be more active  

A frolicking puppy in the house will definitely increase a child’s physical activity by chasing after it or playing with it. And as the evenings close in, taking the four-legged friends for a walk encourages children to exercise daily. Plus, it’s the perfect thing to burn off excess energy before bedtime. 


3. Happier overall  

Having pets around prevent loneliness especially for introverted children and those who do not have any siblings. It’s like having a confidante who will hear about the child’s good and bad days. They make children happier overall, with lots of fond memories to cherish down the road.


4. Boosts social-emotional and cognitive development

Even in the youngest children, pets can be a positive influence on their behaviour. Children will show improved ability to control strong emotions and impulses when interacting with animals. Plus, thinking and responding to the animal’s behaviour helps children develop better decision-making and problem-solving skills.


5. May reduce symptoms of autism and ADHD

Children with autism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may benefit from having a pet like a dog. Dogs seem to calm children down, lower their stress levels and help prepare them for therapy. Children with a pet are also more likely to engage in social situations such as asking for information or introducing themselves.

If your child shows signs of ADHD and you are not sure what to do, contact your nearest special needs centre today for a consultation.


6. Teach kindness and compassion

When children make an effort to care for animals, they understand the importance of treating others with kindness and compassion. The way they treat animals is strongly related to the way they treat people.  


7. Improved immune system

Research found that exposing children below the age of five to pets like cats and dogs may reduce the risk of developing allergies and asthma. This is due to how bacteria from pets are transferred to children’s guts, and in turn strengthens their immune systems.  

Be a fosterer

If you are a little worried about the full-time commitments of having a family pet, especially something more high maintenance like a dog, you can try fostering. It means taking care of a dog temporarily until it finds a permanent home with someone who is willing to adopt it. The ‘Fosterer Network’ programme is a great place to start for those who are interested.