Having a pet in your life can have many positive effects on your health and well-being. Every pet companion is unique and can provide you with a different kind of relationship than one between two people.
Many families include a dog, cat, fish, or bird, but how do these pets impact children as they are growing? Here are some ways that animals can benefit a person’s health.
Research has shown that interacting with a family pet or two can decrease the incidence of allergies, improve self-esteem and compassion, and provides additional affection and companionship for children.
Pets and Childhood Allergies
First-time parents preparing to bring their baby home from the hospital may worry that they need to find another home for their two dogs or cats to prevent their child from developing allergies to the animal’s dander. It appears the opposite is true.
Children who grow up in households with two or more pets have a lower incidence of allergies than children raised in homes with only one or no pets.
When children are exposed to furry pets such as dogs and cats during the first year of life, they experience significant increases in beneficial gut bacteria, helping to strengthen the child’s immune system while it is actively developing, which can protect them from developing allergies later in childhood.
Dogs and cats don’t speak our language. We can’t go into a deep conversation with our pets, but that can be positive. Communication between humans and animals is not absent, just different.
Actions become words like the wagging of a tail or scratching behind his ear. And animals can be the best listeners for someone who just needs to have a one-way conversation. No matter what you have to say, they’re there to hear you out.
Whether we realize it or not, touch can be very important. Between people, we share hugs, kisses, snuggling, and holding hands, all of which give us comfort and relaxation.
A pet can provide kids with something to embrace and share their space with. Petting an animal or having your pet sleep in the bed at night can provide a feeling of connection.
Children are often introduced to their first pet with the big word: Responsibility. Pets are great to teach children about taking care of something that relies on you.
Walking them, feeding and giving them water, cleaning out their litter box, brushing them, bathing them, playing with them, etc. Pets are also often adopted for newlyweds to prepare them for having children themselves.
Caring for a family pet is often one of the first introductions a child has to nurture another living thing. Learning how to think about the pet’s needs and feelings is a good way for children to learn about putting themselves in another person’s shoes.
Being responsible for feeding and walking a dog can also give a child a feeling of importance and worth in the family and teach him about being responsible for attending to another creature’s needs.
Children were more cooperative and better at sharing because learning how to think about the puppy’s needs can then be transferred to thinking about other children’s feelings.
Pets are also great for helping with depression and elevating the pet owner’s general mood. Kids who own pets talk about their pets often, and this is because they make them happy and they want to share with others the cute and funny things they did recently.
People often get a big guard dog for their protection. There is nothing wrong with this, but even small dogs and cats have been known to help protect their owners.
Animals are able to sense if someone is outside much sooner than their owner, and this barking or meowing alerts their owner that they could be in danger. (Pets have also been known to wake up owners in a burning building.)
Pets really do bring the kids and family together. Families come together to take care of their pets and talk about them more often than not.
Pets are a fun subject that everyone in the family has in common, and sharing fun things about them from the day is a great mood booster in any conversation.
Companionship and Affection
Most families have pets because of the companionship and affection that dogs and cats provide. In today’s busy world, it can be a relief to come home to a dog who loves you unconditionally, and the same is true for children, especially children who have troubled relationships with their parents and family members.
Family pets help children soothe themselves when they are upset and feel they can’t go to their parents for support.
Unconditional love is a rare thing in this world. Everyone has expectations that can be hard to meet. Society never stops judging us and our lives.
But a pet does not judge. They have no concern about who you are, and they could care less if you wear a striped shirt or the plaid shirt. A pet only expects attention, affection, and care and is willing to provide the same for its owners.
Before getting a new pet, make sure you have the time to take care of one and that you don’t have any allergies to the animal of choice. Pets require a lot of work, so make sure you have the time to be a great pet owner!
Having a family pet is a big responsibility, and it is important to make sure that your pets are safe around children. Pets can also be a wonderful source of self-esteem, companionship, and an opportunity for children to learn responsible and caring behavior and help reduce childhood allergies.
Overall, a pet provides happiness, family, and love. They make our lives a little brighter and our outlooks a little more positive.
Vickie aka The Crazy Family Mom
Vickie is the creator of A Crazy Family. She is a stay-at-home mom of a little boy with a big personality. She loves to share real food recipes, parenting tips & encouragement, fun kids activities, and so much more! Plus she is thrilled to provide you with a space to celebrate all that is awesome (and a little crazy) in the world.