So your child wants a pet? Are they demanding a kitten or a cute puppy? Do they dream of their own pony or pet rat? Obviously, getting a pet takes thought and preparation but they are an essential part of family life in my opinion.
Before you decide, here are the top 8 reasons why a pet is a great idea for your child and your whole family.
1. They are good for your physical health.
I know that since we have got Dottie we are a healthier family as she needs to be walked. Every day we go out and walk for about an hour. Some dogs need more exercise than others but an hour works for us. Having other pets can also be great for physical health. Rabbits and guinea pigs love to run in the garden and children enjoy playing with them, feeding them and being with them outside. Horses and ponies need a lot of care and exercise but obviously your child can ride them, perhaps developing a lifelong passion. Pet owners are known to be at less risk of allergies and visit the doctor less often.
2. They can be your child’s first friend.
When I was young I had a cat called Fozzy when I was about 8. He was basically my baby and my first real love. I used to wrap him up in a blanket and he would let me! In fact, he loved it. Pets are always there and provide great comfort for children. I know dogs that are literally part of the game!
3. They connect family members together.
During Christmas Day we had 8 adults, numerous children and 5 dogs (as well as our old cats) here at the old house. I know that the dogs were as important to our family as the people. There was no question that they would be left out! Having a pet creates a feeling of unity amongst families and can be a good way to encourage teens to come out of their bedroom!
4. Pets can help with stressful moments.
Young children often have full on tantrums and we all know that is normal but it can be very stressful! Having a pet to stroke and distract their attention can be very handy! My daughter loved our cat when she was a toddler and that was a good way to encourage her to come out of her tantrum. Pets can also be very funny too and provide some lighter moments in a stressful day.
5. Pets teach children about responsibility.
I know that very young children can’t be responsible for walking a dog but they can feed a guinea pig or rabbit. Teaching children that pets need to be cared for is a great way for them to learn about responsibility. Children can learn that cleaning out the rabbit is not fun but is necessary for their pet to be looked after. I also think that boys learn about nurturing from having a pet that they wouldn’t necessarily learn through play. It’s not cool to play family type games but playing and loving a pet is ok.
6. Having a pet can teach our child about death and the circle of life.
This is hard for children to learn but is, sadly a fact of life. Losing a pet is terrible but can be a life lesson that children should be exposed to in my opinion.
7. Having a pet can beat loneliness and anxiety.
I remember crying my eyes out about something that had upset me as a child and telling my cat! My cat didn’t give me opinions, he just listened (or so I thought!). Pets can be a source of comfort to children of all ages. I know that Dottie really senses my emotions and will come for a cuddle when I’m feeling a bit low. Stroking animals has been proven to lower stress too. I know of children with Special Needs have found a friend in their dog or their pet has encouraged them to speak when other ways have failed.
8. Pets are fun!
Pets can be great fun! I knew someone growing up who kept miniature horses that would come into their house and sit on their sofa at night! How fun is that?? My dog is great fun and gets us out the house. We have explored more of our local area whilst walking her than in the time before we had her. Kittens love to play and are such fun when they pounce. My children would play with our cats for hours when they were younger; they provided lots of entertainment.
So there we have it! 8 reasons to get a pet. In fact there are loads of reasons to get a pet! I hope this has helped with your decision. Now, just to choose which one…..
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES….WITH 1 DOG AND 2 CATS.
A blog about my life in The Old House, a mum to teenagers, a primary school teacher and my passion for gardening.