You may have a lot of questions about pets. Whether you should get one? Which one you should get? How having a pet affects a child? What’s the best age for a child to get a pet? And probably a million more! But don’t you worry, we have all the answers and the answer to you biggest question - Why Pets are Important for Development of Kids?
A pet is an animal kept for a person’s company, entertainment, or as an act of compassion such as taking in and protecting stray animals or even rescuing animals. Pets are said to provide their guardians both physical and emotional benefits. There have been multiple studies conducted to find out if pets are good for us and guess what? They are!
Some examples are:
- Heart attack patients with pets live longer than those without.
- Pets increase levels of oxytocin and serotonin in humans
- Alzheimer’s patients are more likely to eat their meals if a fish tank is on the table or nearby, so they can see the fish swimming.
- Therapy dogs/animals make amazing differences in the lives of those in hospice, depression/anxiety, in confined spaces like hospitals for long periods.
Pets and Kids!
At one point of time in their lives, every kid asks for a pet. It may be a cat, a dog, a fish or even a bird! Pets are a part of many kids lives and has only taught them how to be more responsible and empathic in life. A child who learns to care for an animal, and treat it kindly and patiently, may get invaluable training in learning to treat people the same way. A pet helps kids develop physical, social, cognitive or emotional skills. Parental involvement, open discussion, and planning are necessary to help make pet ownership a positive experience for everyone.
Here are a few reasons why you should let your kids have a pet.
Pets Help in Learning:
It shouldn’t come as a surprise if you find your kid with your pet sitting in a corner and your kid reading something out to the pet. Educational Institutes have long known that bringing therapy animals (mostly dogs) into schools helps developmentally challenged kids learn and now, they are finding that all children can benefit from the presence of an animal as they most likely won’t care and would just quietly sit there and listen non-judgementally. In one study, children were asked to read in front of a peer, an adult, and a dog. Researchers monitored their stress levels, and found that kids were most relaxed around the animal, not the humans. If your child is struggling to read and someone asks or even tells them to try, makes them nervous and stressed. Curling up with a dog or cat, on the other hand, is a lot more appealing and makes the process easier.
Pets Build Family Bonds:
A pet is often the focus of activities that families do together. Everyone takes the dog for a walk, or shares in grooming and feeding them and even play with them. There are even benefits from simply watching a cat chase his tail or a fish swim in his tank. Spending time like this offers the wonderful potential of slowing down the hectic pace of this fast life that we live. One of the biggest benefits of having pets is often unexpected, even for parents who grew up around animals. They can help families grow stronger and closer. Almost all families with pets consider their pets to be a part of their family and bring them up with the same or often more care than what they do with their own children.
Pets Provide Comfort:
Animals are a great topic for kids to talk about. Having a pet gives them a chance to share their experiences and build shared interest with kids around them. Animals are also a great source of comfort. They almost always provide a safe space for kids to share their secrets and help them feel better if they’re a bit down. Not just with kids, even with adults – pets are said to provide emotional support and help reduce anxiety and negativity.
Pets Encourage Nurturing:
Nurturing isn't a quality that suddenly emerges in adulthood when we need it and you definitely don’t learn to nurture if you were nurtured as a child. It is a quality that needs time to learn and build. People need a way to practice being caregivers when they're young and pets are the ideal way to do it. Taking care of a pet involves a lot. You have to feed them, bathe them, take them on walks and ensure that they’re healthy. Encouraging your child to participate in these tasks will make a difference in the kind of person your child grows up to be. Remember to start small with something like filling the water bowl for the pet.
Pets Keep Kids Healthy:
A study done by a paediatrician says that having multiple pets actually decreases a child's risk of developing certain allergies. It was found that the children who were exposed to two or more dogs or cats as babies were less than half as likely to develop common allergies as kids who had no pets in the home. Children who had animals had fewer positive skin tests to indoor allergens—like pet and dust-mite allergens—and also to outdoor allergens such as ragweed and grass. Other studies have suggested that an early exposure to pets may decrease a child's risk of developing asthma. No one knows for sure why this is the case, but there is a theory that when a child plays with a dog or a cat, the animals usually lick him, that lick transfers bacteria that live in animals' mouths, and the exposure to the bacteria may change the way the child's immune system responds to other allergens. What more assurance do you need?
Some other things that pets help kids with:
- Children with a companion animal in the home have higher self- esteem.
- People who live with pets tend to feel happier and less lonely
- Pets can help ward off depression.
- Pets can help children and young teens overcome limitations – Autism, ADHD.
- Kids with pets are more likely to be more obedient.
- Children with pets are more likely to be more physically active.
- Kids with pets tend to be less moody.
- Children with pets have fewer behaviour problems.
- Kids with a dog are more likely to get out and play.
- It’s important for a kid to have a partner in crime to share special life moments with
- Pets can be there for comfort when things get real.
- Positive relationships with pets can aid in the development of trusting relationships with others.
- Pets provide lessons about life, including reproduction, birth, illnesses, accidents, death, and bereavement.
- They can help develop responsible behaviour in the children who care for them.
- Pets provide a connection to nature.
- They can teach respect for other living things.
- Feeling loved unconditionally? Priceless.
Best Pets for Kids To Have:
The most obvious. Dogs are the most loyal and lovable pets possible. The bond that the dog and child form will be very strong. They are great companions both inside and outside the house and they love to play. Also, they’re adorable.
Cats are not as playful as dogs but they love playing. They are generally calm, comforting and busy with themselves. They’re very adorable and a great addition to the family.
Rabbits are extremely cute ,cuddly , active and social, and they need plenty of stimulation or they can potentially get bored and destructive. If you plan to let your bunny explore your home you’ll need to do some serious bunny proofing because they like to chew.
Birds are highly intelligent and social pets to have around. They mostly stay in their cages, but it would be great if you could provide them with a safe flying space inside your house. They very colourful and bring a melody into the house.
Often regarded as the perfect first pet for kids, fish are fascinating family members to watch, no matter your age. Certain kids prefer pets that are more calm and silent and can be observed without any worries. A fish is one of thebest pets for toddlers since it is easiest in that regard since all it takes is cleaning the water they stay in every once a while.
Extremely cute at first sight, these tiny little animals can be a great pet, provided your kid likes to constantly look after and ensure that their pet is good. Giving their cage a hamster wheel is the best way to keep it occupied. They have a relatively short lifespan — about two to three years — so keep in mind that your kids might get a lesson in dealing with the loss of a pet sooner rather than later.
Snuggling and exploring are some of a guinea pig’s favourite pastimes, so they’ll need time out of their cage every day. Regular responsibilities will include grooming, cage cleaning, and having supplies at the ready. Getting 2 is recommended as they need companionship.
Turtles are cute but quite complicated to keep. They need to live in a specific type of environment to really thrive. Everything from the temperature to the lighting must be just right, so you have to be ready and willing to set up those conditions. Turtles have particularly long lifespans compared to most other pets.
Mice don’t require a large place to live and can be easily taken care of. Put a bunch of female mice together and they will lead the happiest lives possible. Kids can easily play with the mice and will be quite entertained by their activities and their noises. Mice, by their very nature, are agile and skittish, which makes them difficult to grab hold of.
Adopt! Don’t shop.
Though it is not difficult to find a breeder or a pet shop and go buy a pet but when you adopt a pet, When you buy a pet, you not only deny a homeless pet a home, you are supporting an industry that thrives on short-changing the welfare of animals. Puppy and kitten mills (which sell to pet stores) are in business to make a profit, so they churn out puppies and kittens as fast as they can. These animals are often in ill-health and have problems like poor socialization skills due to lack of human companionship and genetic defects due to inbreeding. By adopting, you help stop pet overpopulation.
The biggest reason to adopt instead of buying an animal is there are just so many animals waiting to be adopted. Adoption is cheaper than buying an animal from a store or breeder and it supports the community. Shelters need the business to keep things going and adoption helps to free room for shelters to save more animals. Buying a pet can easily cost a lot of money. Adoption costs will be the bare minimum, depending on whether the pet comes from the city shelter or a rescue group that has spent money on boarding, vets and grooming.
Adopting a pet from a shelter – there are high chances that you find a fully trained animal and you have a lot of choices to choose from. You also will help spread awareness that its better to Adopt and not shop!
An adopted pet will always show you how eternally grateful they are that you rescued them and will always treat you better and shower you with more love and licks!
Here are a few places in India where you can adopt pets:
- https://www.dogspot.in – Multiple cities
- http://www.awptrust.org/ - Chennai
- http://bluecrossofindia.org/ - Chennai
- https://www.idaindia.org/adopt - Mumbai
- https://www.amtmindia.org/ - Mumbai
- http://www.peopleforanimalsindia.org/ - New Delhi
- https://www.redpawsrescue.com/ - New Delhi
- http://cupabangalore.org/second-chance-adoption-centre/ - Bangalore
- https://charlies-care.com/ - Bangalore
- https://www.facebook.com/maruthydogshelter - Bangalore
- https://www.pawsrescue.in/ - Kolkata
- http://www.dogzone.in/service - Kolkata
- https://pfahyd.org/ - Hyderabad
- https://bluecrossofhyd.org/ - Hyderabad
Frequently Asked Questions
Is having a dog good for a child?
Dog ownership can teach children about responsibility, help them process their feelings and improve their health. Children who own dogs can have higher self-esteem. Children who grow up with a dog are less likely to develop allergies. Kids who own dogs may experience fewer sick days.
What’s the best age for a child to get a dog?
As a general rule, if your child is under 6 years old, it is usually best to adopt a dog over 2 years old. Many families picture a puppy and child growing up together, but there are a few things to consider before adopting a puppy (under 1 year of age) if you have a young child.
What is a Good First pet for kids?
Guinea pigs make especially good pets for very young children because they are docile, rarely bite, and are easily handled. Hamsters are also calm creatures, but are mostly nocturnal. Gerbils are the most active of these three small pets, and may get aggressive if threatened.
What are the easiest pets to take care of?
Rodents, such as rats, mice, gerbils, and hamsters, good choices for easy pets for kids. They are small, furry, and cuddly. They happily stay in their cages when the kids aren't playing with them. Freshwater fish are another low maintenance option for kids.
A doting mom to an angel, Social Media Specialist & Professional Blogger. She loves to share her thoughts with other parents in the same turbulent boat. She absolutely loves & adores her family & is learning to strike a good work-life balance. When she is not writing, cooking or busy taking care of her toddler, she probably is dancing to some good desi music!