If you’ve grown up around pets, you’ll know exactly how close your relationships can be. However, despite many people living with pets throughout their childhood, some adults are still reluctant to get a pet while their children are younger. Of course, this is personal choice, although studies have found that there are a number of benefits of growing up with pets — as dog food and grain free dog food retailer Feedem explores.
Of course, one of the main benefits of owning a pet is the added exercise you’ll get, especially if you get a dog, cat or horse. According to an NHS report, 10% of children in England that are in the first year of school are obese. Whether it’s walking the dog or playing with the cat, owning a pet is a great way to introduce exercise into their lifestyle to combat the growing trend of sedentary living.
Allergies are a key concern for parents — will owning a pet trigger their little ones to develop allergies? While further research is needed to fully establish the impact pets can have, some studies have found that exposure to pets at a young age has a protective effect against allergies. Other studies refute these claims however, and suggest that they can actually develop more severe symptoms.
Caring for animals helps your child learn about responsibilities and the impact their actions can have. Getting them involved in the feeding, grooming and exercising of animals teaches them about compassion and respect, developing their parental skills for later life.
Pets act as a continuous source of companionship for children — and one study found that having a pet had a positive impact on anxiety and their ability to discuss their problems. When a group of 5-year-old pet owners were asked what they did when they were sad, angry or afraid, over 40% mentioned their pets.
Improve literacy skills
Learning to read can be a difficult part of growing up, but a dog could help. Studies have found that children benefit from reading to their dog, as the dog acts as almost a comfort blanket. The children don’t feel judged or embarrassed when they make a mistake, and it is a more engaging way to read than sitting at a desk.