Pet benefits for your Children

Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor

Researchers at Warwick University in Coventry found that having a cat or dog at home exposed children to more infections early in life produced a stronger immune systems and are less likely to have days off school sick. While research with preschool children, psychologists at Oregon State University found that teaching children to care for a puppy enhanced their social skills becoming more cooperative and sharing. 


Pet Health benefits for Children

Studies have shown a lower incidence of allergies in children who have pets. Researchers also found young children exposed to one or more pets actually had decreased allergic reactions to other allergens. The supposition is that given that pets lick the children, (and who hasn’t seen that happen!), and bacteria from the pet hone the child’s immune system for exposure to future allergens.

Research has shown that antibody levels in children from pet owning families were significantly more stable which indicates a robust immune systems. This supports the suggestion that too much cleanliness early in life, so-called “dirty hypothesis”, can leave the immune system weakened later on and is considered the reason for soaring rates of childhood asthma in recent years.


Pets do have health risks for children but the study from Warwick University found that three out of 10 children admitted sharing food with their pets while 21% let their pets lick their fingers despite these dangers. One of the biggest risks is the roundworm Toxicara canis which infects dogs. This can cause anything from stomach ache to eye damage. Despite these dangers pet owning children achieved nine days extra at school over the course of a year compared to children without animals.


Social skills in Children with Pets are improved

Children with Pets learn Responsibility

By having a family pet children can also learn how to care for others by taking on responsibility. Through this they learn what is required to take care of another instance, walking a dog shows the child that there is responsibility involved in taking care of a pet. The child will at the same time strengthens his or her relationship with the animal who, in return, will become a loyal friend who is always there to play with or to turn to in tough situations.

Emotional Health Thanks to Pets

Children with Pets learn Acceptance and Compassion

Sometimes a child can find it difficult to be accepted by others, even by members of their family and can result in low self esteem to develop. A dog or cat is non-judgmental and when a child needs an impartial party for comfort they can turn to their animal.  Children and Pets both in their natural state give love freely and with no strings attached except to be nurtured back. Pets love to have attention paid to them, and reward the giver with a like return of warmth. Kindness can also develop because the child has to care for a being that needs him or her to cater to its every need. Without the child, the pet would starve. So, the child learns responsibility and compassion.

Pets help Children relieve Stress and Provide Entertainment

Pets relieve stress, when no one else will listen, a pet will. It is nearly impossible to stroke the soft fur of a dog or a cat and maintain any level of stress. Pets can also be a calming influence to both parents and responsible children. Just watching a cat bat a ball around, or a dog chase its tail, can bring families closer together. Everyone gets involved in the care of the animal, so it becomes an integral part of the family.  No matter what the choice of pet children will benefit greatly from adding an animal into the family mix.

Socializing and Exercise

A child who has a pet will have many stories to tell people and this intern helps the child to socialise. It matters not if the person listening has a pet or not as most pets are universally known. So many times we hear children say “I have a rabbit, dog or cat” and the conversation suddenly follows.  The pet can also provide exercise, be it grooming, walking or play, taking the child outside. A permanent playmate can be on hand at all times for the child who may otherwise sit in front of his computer or television for hours on end.

There are many beneficial reasons why a child should grow up with an animal in the home. Pets can teach children so much, including responsibility, kindness, and love and make great friends and playmates for a child. So, if you’re trying to find a way to get your kid off the couch, consider bringing a pet into your home, but don’t mention the 9 extra days at school!

Sue Hipperson has taken her love of pets to the next level by setting up a specialist, nationwide pet protection service which has already reunited many lost and stolen cats and dogs with their owners. Pets Bureau was founded in January 2009 and – through a clever marrying of social networking sites, an extensive database of pets and a network of like-minded members; including dog wardens and police – has achieved an 80 per cent success rate. To find out more about our services please go to Sue, a life-long animal lover, adores dogs but is owned by six cats! Namely Chippey, Philly, Blackie, Robbie, Blue and Sceley, has been overwhelmed with the response she has received from members and the pet-loving public.

To find out more about out services please go to

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