Whether it’s playing with a pooch, handling a hamster or caring for a cat, having a furry friend in your home is just as enjoyable for kids as it is for adults. As well as the cuddliness, companionship and comedic moments they provide, did you know they’re also great for your child’s development? There are loads of benefits to kids having a pet – some people believe they are more caring and nurturing as a result of having pets when they were younger, and did you know that studies show exposure to cats and dogs in the first year of a child’s life makes them less likely to suffer from allergies?
If you’ve got a little one and are considering getting a four-legged friend, a lizard to love or a rodent you can rely on, check out the other benefits to having a pet below:
Keeping them active
Having a pet keeps kids active with different activities. Dogs are great for getting children outside more – whether it’s throwing balls in the garden, playing in the park or long walks in the woods. Small animals are also great for improving your little one’s motor skills, scooping out food and pouring water into dishes. If your child is into ponies and horses but you don’t have the time or space to keep one, you can always take them for riding lessons. Most riding schools allow kids to start at around 4-5 years old and it’s a great form of exercise.
Learning, developing and making new friends
When getting a new pet, they instantly become part of the family and a new friend that your child can talk to, play with and care for. They’re also great for interaction with other kids, at the park or at school as a talking point – children love talking about their pets! It’s even thought that dogs in particular can ease loneliness, stress and anxiety. Pets can help stimulate kids when learning, often making them more interested in books and pictures. You can even encourage your little one to research different breeds, or take them to pet obedience classes… and hope some of it rubs off on your child!
Teaching kids about responsibility
Pets help to teach kids about responsibility from an early age. When they’re really young they can help with feeding, and as they get older they can help out with grooming and cleaning up. As they become more independent they’ll be able to walk a dog on their own and undertake most activities involved in owning a pet. We recommend that you only give them tasks appropriate for their age for the safety of the pet, and supervising the first few times your child performs a set task is always advisable – or you may end up with corn flakes in the feeding bowl!
Getting a new pet is a big decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly, so do your research to find the type of pet that’s right for you and your family. And when you’ve made your decision, head over to our pet department for everything you need – from food and cages to toys and accessories!