1. Learning – Studies have shown that children can learn in a relaxed fashion when in the presence of a pet. Since pets are non-judgmental, children feel safe exploring and trying new things, rather than fearing they will be critiqued if they make a mistake. Chestermere’s Listening Tails program operates on this finding, a program designed to improve children’s reading skills and confidence by having them practice reading out loud to dogs. For more information on the program visit http://ctds.ca/listening-tails/.
2. Comfort – After a difficult day, sometimes there is nothing better than returning home to a wagging tail or a purring cat to curl up with. Pets often instinctively sense when we need some extra comforting, and it can be a relief to just snuggle up with a pet who isn’t going to ask you a lot of questions. The act of petting has even been shown to foster a sense of relaxation, inducing stress relief and even reducing blood pressure.
3. Nurturing – Pets provide children with an opportunity to practice caring for something other than themselves, helping to plant the seeds of parenting skills for when they are adults. Learning to feed, walk, brush fur and teeth, encourages responsibility. Nurturing animals is especially helpful for boys, as they tend to have less practice than girls using their nurturing skills. Girls are encouraged to play house, play with dolls, and become babysitters more often than boys do.
4. Health – Studies have shown that having pets reduces a child’s risk of developing certain allergies and asthma. Particularly during the first year of life, exposure to pets helps a child’s immune system to develop protection against allergies.
Pets can also encourage the family to be more active, whether taking the dog for a walk, hike, or playing fetch.
5. Bonding – Have you ever taken your dog out for a walk only to be approached my someone wanting to pet your dog or ask questions about him? Pets are great social magnets, and allow us to bond with other people that have pets and make new friends.
Having a pet also encourages family bonding. Even picking out a pet in the first place, is something that can bring a family together, and even involve children in making a large decision with the family. Many people consider the pet as part of the family, and every family member enjoys being involved in the care for the pet. Everything from going on family walks, to buying Christmas presents for the pet!
Make sure your pet is healthy by visiting Chestermere Veterinary Clinic for their wellness examination and vaccinations or any time you have concerns, call us at 403-272-3573, or visit us on Facebook!
Strickland, Bill. “The Benefits of Pets.” Parents Magazine. Web February 16, 2015. http://www.parents.com/parenting/pets/kids/pets-good-for-kids/.