Is your home without a pet? Are you worried about your little ones getting along with a furry companion? Don't! Studies show that pets are tremendously helpful with your children's development.
I grew up on a farm in South Carolina with horses, ducks, chickens, cows, dogs, cats, parrots... you name it, we had it. My furry and winged pals gave me the confidence to set out on numerous adventures from my first skinned knee to my first heart break. They were my best friends when I had no one else to talk to.
Overall, an estimated 4 in 10 children begin life in a family with domestic animals, and as many as 90 percent of all kids live with a pet at some point during their childhood, says Gail F. Melson, PhD, professor emeritus of developmental studies at Purdue University, in Indiana, and the author of Why the Wild Things Are: Animals in the Lives of Children.
So what are the benefits of pets in these kids lives?
Dr. Ownby has a theory: "When a child plays with a dog or a cat, the animals usually lick him," he says. "That lick transfers bacteria that live in animals' mouths, and the exposure to the bacteria may change the way the child's immune system responds to other allergens."
For mental health, pets help with an array of mental disabilities. Did you know that a cat's purr is healing? No, seriously! Cat purr vibrations are in the 20 Hz to 140 Hz range, which means their purring itself can have a therapeutic effect! A 2011 survey by the Mental Health Foundation and Cats Protection found that 87 per cent of cat owners feel their pets have a positive impact on their well-being and 76 per cent find coping with everyday life easier thanks to their kitties. Sign me up!
4. Family Bonding
Pets can be the center of your activities as a family. A trip to the dog park, a camping trip, fishing, all are immensely more fun with a wagging overflowing happy tank along side you. Each family member shares in the responsibility of caring for the pet too which inspires communication and provides a commonality between everyone which is especially important during the teenage years.
You can't still be hesitant about sharing your home with one of those cute faces! What are you waiting for? Go get your new family member!