The best of friends: pets and children

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Pets can be a happy extension to your family. A man’s best friend – or your children’s best friend. Some of you might be aware of this yourself, having grown up with a family pet that completed your family. For many parents, this bond is something they want to pass on to their own children, yet many are hesitant to get a pet. Whether it’s a dog, cat or humble goldfish, here grain free dog food retailer, Feedem, explains the many benefits of letting your child grow up with a pet.

Animal companions

Allowing your children to have a pet in the house can give them a companion like no other, as one study found. When a group of 5-year-old pet owners were asked what they did when they felt sad, angry or afraid, over 40% said mentioned their pets. Clearly, having a pet has a positive impact on anxiety, improving their communication skills and the ability to discuss their problems.


Getting a pet can have health benefits on all family members – of course, be aware of any allergies, but getting a pet, whether it is a dog or a cat, is a great way to get all members of the family exercising more often.
It’s a great way to combat the sedentary lives an increasing number of British families are living. An NHS report has found that in England, 10% of children in their first year of school are obese. A pet is a great way to introduce exercise into their lifestyles without them really being aware of it. Before they know it, an after-school dog walk will be second nature to them.

Teaching responsibilities

We all know that with having a pet comes a whole host of extra responsibilities. It can be a great way to teach your little one about responsibilities and accountabilities, as well as teaching them about compassion and respect for animals — and is the same whether they’re looking after a dog or a goldfish.
Getting your children involved in feeding times, grooming and other caring responsibilities helps children learn how important their actions are and it’ll give them a greater level of responsibility in the home. This helps to lay the foundation for parental skills in later life.

Improve reading skills

An animal can encourage children to improve their reading skills. Despite not being able to read themselves, dogs can actually aid the development of a child’s literacy skills. When reading to their dog, children feel comfortable and not judged or embarrassed if they make a mistake – and we are all aware of the saying ‘practise makes perfect’. What better way to practise than with your best friend. Dogs don’t interrupt either and make reading more enjoyable. It’s more engaging than sitting at a desk and reading alone, helping your little ones to better engage with their homework.

Pet allergies

There are hundreds of allergies that your children could potentially have or develop. Pets are the second-most common cause of allergy in UK homes. Studies have been carried out to establish the impact of having pets while your children are younger on their allergies. Some have established that children who are exposed to pets at a young age can develop more severe allergy symptoms, while others have shown that the exposure has a protective effect with regards to allergens. Further research is required to fully establish the effects pets have on children’s allergies.

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