Should kids have pets? A lot of parents like the idea of their kids having pets but hold off on getting a furry friend because they don’t think the child is ready.
Admittedly, owning a pet is a lot of responsibility. We have to take the time to clean the pet (and clean up after it), make sure it gets adequate exercise, and stays healthy.
But does it really matter if the child is responsible enough to take care of a pet? Actually, studies have shown that kids raised around pets from a very early age are better off than those who aren’t.
At our Atlanta vet office, when someone asks if they should get a pet for their child, our answer is a resounding yes!
Why You Should Give Your Child a Pet: 5 Reasons from Your Atlanta Vet
We understand that you want to see the proof. Here is seven reasons why you should buy or adopt a pet for your little one.
1. Having a Pet will Teach Your Kids Responsibility
You may not think your kids are responsible enough for a pet, but the reality is that once they have a pet, they will learn responsibility. This is a valuable lesson that every person will have to learn at some point in their life.
When they get a pet, kids start learning this lesson even at a very young age. Even when they’re a toddler, you can teach your child how to feed the pet and take it out for some exercise. With a pet, your child might very well learn how to be responsible at a younger age.
2. Pets Help Kids De-Stress
Pets are being used to help educate children, partly because they offer a safe, non-judgmental audience. Some children get very anxious when they’re told they need to practice reading out loud, for instance. And the anxiety isn’t limited to reading in front of a teacher or fellow students. Even reading in front of parents and siblings can cause stress.
On the other hand, the idea of reading out loud to the family pet can take an immense amount of pressure off the child. The child soon sees reading as a fun activity instead of a stress-inducing one.
3. Pets Help Kids Deal with Feelings of Loneliness
Whether they’re an only child, extremely shy, introverted, or have just moved to a new school, there are going to be moments when kids deal with loneliness. Having a pet to curl up with and even confide in can help the child through this difficult period.
Loneliness can quickly and easily morph into depression. Having a pet will often reduce the effects of loneliness, making the child feel like they have a companion throughout life. In some cases, having a pet has even helped children come out of their shell and start interacting better with those around them.
4. Pets Teach Empathy
Jane Goodall, a world-renowned primatologist, has learned about empathy through her study of animals. She’s said that “it's desperately important for a child to grow up with a pet.” Doing so will teach the child how to be gentle, loving, patient, and caring toward others – whether it’s another person, an animal, or even the environment. Some studies have shown it even makes them more cooperative and more inclined to share.
5. Children Have Higher Self-Esteem
Because of the unconditional love pets bestow upon their human friends, kids tend to have higher self-esteem. They grow up feeling they deserve love.
Keep Your Entire Family Healthy by Taking Your Pet to Your Local Vet Regularly
Pets are great for keeping the whole family – including your kids – healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Return the favor by taking your pet to an Atlanta vet regularly. When you take your family pet to a local vet, they will get the preventative care they need to stay healthy for many years to come. After all, the healthier they are, the longer this beloved member of your family will be around, providing happy memories the whole family will cherish.
Are you considering buying or adopting a pet for your family? Contact us today to find out about which pets are child-friendly and how to care for your new family addition.