Pets need to be taken care of, but the love you receive in return is well worth the work. The benefits of owning a pet can be huge for children and the whole family. Pets, especially dogs in my opinion, are always in a good mood and its contagious. They always show love and affection to their owners and don’t demand too much in return! Yes, pets need to be taken care of, i.e. walks, fed, vet visits and bathing but the love you receive in return is well worth the work! Plus, lets’s face it dogs cant talk back to us like our kids!
Why pets are good for children:
Pets have that instant calming effect. Have a toddler who loves to throw temper tantrums or just moody? Put a friendly dog in the mix and you have instant laughs and cuddles! If your child comes in tired or down because of something that occurred at school, the greeting they receive from their pet can provide instant relief. The love a pet shows you helps you stay positive.
In hospitals, therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort to sick children and know the special things to do to make them feel better. They will lie with them on the hospital bed and help provide that missing piece the child needs. So it makes sense that your family dog would have a similar effect.
When your child is sick, a pet can make them feel better just by lying with them. I finally caved and agreed to a dog 8 years ago after our oldest son returned from a hospital stay at CHOA. Having our little Goldendoodle puppy in the house immediately changed the sad atmoshphere that had been hovering over all of us. All we could think about was how cute she was and how we wanted to spend all our time with her. She continues to show unconditional love to this day that instantly brings a smile to all our faces!
Having a pet gives your child responsibilities. Children can help feed, wash and exercise your family pet (and, of course your child will also get exercise). If you have a pet in a cage, barn, coop or tank, your child can help keep the pet’s habitat clean. Our younges saved money to buy a leopard gecko and it’s terrarium. Brendan cleans the terrarium, feeds and plays with his gecko. Often, if children really want a pet and the parents are not convinced, they will do chores to earn allowance and save their money to pay for adoption fees or to buy necessities to care for their pet, which helps them learn to be respsonsible with their finances!
Additionally, research published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that children tend to develop stronger immune systems overall when they are exposed to pets early. Certain animals can be a trigger for people with allergies, however, growing up in a house with a pet makes children less likely to develop allergies over the course of their lives. For those with more severe allergies, hypoallergenic pets are a great alternative.
Some say just petting a dog lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. If you have been thinking of adding a pet to the family consider what type of pet works best for your lifestyle. Knowing all the positive benefits of pet ownership makes that decision even easier!
This article was written for North Fulton Family Life’s May 2018 issue. AlpharettaMoms is a proud writer for them and all opinions are my own.