6 reasons why growing up with pets is good for children
Your child wants a pet, but you’re not so sure. After all, who’s going to take on all the chores that come with it – particularly when the novelty has worn off?
To help you work out what’s best for your family, we’ve taken a good look at the latest evidence that suggests growing up with pets can have a range of benefits for children.
1. Pets lower children's risk of allergies
There are several scientific studies that show that children with cats and dogs are less likely to develop allergies. One pet can lower the risk by 33% 1, while two or more pets in the home can halve the risk 2. These studies also suggest that pets could decrease children's risk of asthma.
2. Pets help children be more active
Dogs need walking regularly and there's a clear link between ownership and increased cardiovascular exercise. One study has shown that children with dogs in England get 11 minutes more exercise a day than those that don't own a dog 3.
3. Pets teach children responsibility
When they're motivated by the love of a pet, children might be more inclined to do daily chores. Putting them in charge of certain tasks gives them opportunities to practice caring for others and understand the importance of diet and exercise.
4. Pets help children learn about life
Their experiences with animals can open up difficult conversations around reproduction, illness and bereavement, and teach children coping skills that will be valuable later in life.
5. Pets help children learn social skills
Children and animals often develop a close bond. One study of childhood attachment to pets revealed that 46.9% of children 'almost always' talk to their pet as a friend, while 50.6% seek their pet for comfort when they feel bad 4.
6. Pets may accelerate children's reading progression
There's some surprising evidence to suggest that reading aloud to a pet, or simply in the presence of a pet, improves reading performance in young children 5.
While there are many positives to growing up with pets, it's important to remember that some pets aren’t suitable for young children, and pet ownership can be difficult for children to handle, especially when their furry friend is sick or injured. Pet Insurance could help get your family's pet the best possible care if this happens.
Want to read more before bringing a pet into your family? Take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of pet ownership.