Kids & Pets – the unbreakable bondMay 3, 2017
Most pet lovers recognise the important role pets play in the lives of children. We take a look at the science behind the unbreakable bond children share with their beloved pets.
The facts are in; pets are great for your kids! For many pet owners, this comes as no surprise. However, new research shows that pets can offer your children much more than originally thought.
According to the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry in Canada, dogs have been linked to a reduction in childhood allergies and obesity. The study showed that families with pets (70% were dogs) showed higher levels of two types of microbes associated with lower risks of allergic disease and obesity.
This is just another testament that kids growing up in homes with pets have an advantage, not only emotionally, but also physically.
Having a pet in the home can help your child express themselves. A 10-year British study proved that children are much more likely to confide in their pets than their siblings or friends.
- They make us feel unconditional love. A study by a Japanese University has confirmed that the chemical ‘love hormone’ known as oxytocin is evident after dogs gaze into their owners’ eyes.
- They help children become more sociable, particularly older children and teenagers who can get out and about with their dogs.
- Abolish the feeling of loneliness. Having the constant companionship of a pouncing pup or a purring cat (or even a swimming fish or feathered friend), can help children feel less lonely during times of sadness.
- Research in Queensland has revealed that spending time in parks and nature can positively impact on blood pressure and overall mental health. For teenagers, walking the dog in the park daily not only improve their fitness, but also their mental well-being.
- The big one; responsibility! Pets can help teach a child the importance of caring for another creature.
- Pets have been known to help children develop empathy, confidence and understanding.
Not only that, just patting a dog or cat (or just being in their presence) can have a positive impact on a child (and adult). Some of the benefits include;
- Reducing stress levels
- Reducing blood pressure
- Reducing anxiety and depression
- Increasing social skills
- Increasing self-esteem
- Increasing communication skills
- Increasing motor skills
- Encourages movement and stretching
- Decreasing boredom
- Decreases feelings of isolation and loneliness
Today, many therapy organisations are taking full advantage of the benefits pets can give. From children with autism, to helping with depression and loneliness. There is no doubt having a pet in the home is a huge gain to any child.
How has your pet helped your child? We’d love to hear your story in the comments below.