You recognise the argument. Your child wants a pet, either a dog, cat, hamster or other fluffy creature, but you say ‘no’ because you can’t have the added responsibility when your child fails to look after it properly. Have you, however, thought about the pros for having a family pet? It’s easy to focus on the negatives – time, money, and added responsibility – yet, you need to cast these doubts to the side and focus on the perks. Here’s how buying your child a pet can be beneficial to not only your child, but your household.
Improved Mental Health
It doesn’t matter the pet you buy. Whether it’s a cat, dog, rabbit or gerbil, your child and their pet will bond and end up being the best of friends. This form of companionship can prevent loneliness and depression, regardless of your child’s age. For example, if your seventeen-year-old is diagnosed with depression and anxiety, buying them a puppy or kitten to care for can improve their mental health through an increase in endorphins. Petting reduces stress; if you rhythmically stroke your pet, your body releases oxytocin, the hormone related to stress and anxiety relief, which can aid those who suffer from panic attacks.
Additionally, pets can lesson isolation and they love you unconditionally. If your child has had a rough day, seeing their pet’s enthusiasm when they walk through the door can help rebuild their good mood.
You want to help your child develop skills that’ll aid them in adulthood, and the easiest way to help them understand independence is by giving them added responsibility. Of course, you do not want to overwhelm them, so if they’re still young, buying them a hamster could be more beneficial than a large dog. However, as they grow and become more responsible, larger, longer-living pets can be beneficial.
The responsibilities your child will learn and deal with will usually revolve around the welfare of their pet. For example, keeping them well-fed, hydrated and in good shape is up to them. Additionally, if their pet needs a check-up, have them visit The Vet on their own accord with their own initiative. They may be too young to drive, and you may have to take them and their pet to the vet, but all the other ‘duties’ will have been carried out by your child.
Of course, pets are much more than a means of teaching your child independence. However, this is an added bonus. Your child will love their animal so much, this won’t seem like a chore to them.
In this day and age, getting your child to go outside after school or on the weekend can be difficult. Instead of going for a walk, or cycling over to your friend’s house, children nowadays want to sit in front of the TV or their laptop screens. Some days, this is okay. No one can be active 24/7. However, if your child is in need of reaching their daily exercise quota, then a dog can be a solution to such a problem.
Activity levels are higher than those who do not have pets. Not only will they have to walk their dog, but they have more motivation to run around a park and throw sticks, balls or frisbees, increasing everyone’s activity levels.