Your Kids Were Right: Pets May Boost Your Child’s Health

Almost everyone spent some part of their childhood begging for one animal or another. I begged for a dog, as did my little brother. My best friend (not a dog) spent three years begging for a cat before her parents finally brought one home. My spouse? He had a pet squirrel. Yes, seriously.

Somehow children just know that pets are fun and entertaining and a nice addition to life. Even those who have never had a pet just seem to sense the goodness that they will bring.

Once you’re an adult, you tend to see more of the work and money involved rather than the fun. In recent studies, it has been proven that kids are actually the right ones in this scenario. Read on to find out how getting a pet may help your child and their health.

Improvements in Physical Health

Unless you’re getting your child a fish or a turtle, pets require exercise and movement. They have to be bathed, taken out for potty breaks, and played with or otherwise entertained. Since most children will develop a bond with their pet, they will be excited to do these things with and for their beloved animal friend. If you want to encourage a lot of movement, get them a high energy pet such as a dog. Are you looking for just a slight increase in activity for your little one? Go one notch lower and get a cat or a ferret. It’s also been proven that pets bring in more germs and bacteria into your home. While this might seem like a bad thing, it actually means that those with pets tend to build stronger immune systems. When you want to improve physical health, pets are a win-win situation.

Improvements in Mental Health

Some pets are better for this purpose than others, but most animals will provide at least some boost in mental health. Kids tend to connect personally with their furry friends. They tend to talk to them, turn to them for comfort, and even slightly rely on them as a provider. This is an excellent way for children to express emotion and develop strong bonds without the risk of rejection. Is some rejection good? Sure it is, but your child will have plenty of rejection along the way. Pets have also been linked to lower rates of stress and anxiety in children. Animals are so good at giving a person comfort, they are often used in therapy sessions to help build confidence and optimism. Get your kid a pet, and watch them grow mentally stronger as a result.

Improvements in Social Health

Children learn by watching, but also by doing. Pets give children the opportunity to be a responsible friend and caregiver themselves. Suddenly children have to be loving, empathetic, thoughtful, and responsible. If they aren’t these things, their little friend will suffer. It gives children of all ages a chance to learn and grow in this area. Introducing small kids to pets help them start the process earlier, and most of the time, it turns them into more responsible and thoughtful adults as well.

You might hate to hear it in this instance, but your children are right. Pets really will enhance your family’s life. They are an excellent way to boost health in all areas, and as long as there aren’t any big or important obstacles in the way, this might be a great opportunity to make your child’s wish come true. Just this once.

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Image used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Laura D’Alessandro

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.