You may be surprised to learn that 68 percent of U.S homes include at least one pet, and in 2016 alone, Americans spent a whopping $60 billion on these beloved companions. These numbers will likely increase as pet ownership continues to trend upwards. What is it about Fido and Fluffy that we love so much and what do they bring to our lives?
There’s plenty of research that says interaction with pets is beneficial to us on many levels. Companionship is at the cornerstone; the human-pet relationship can be like an anchor in an otherwise disruptive and complicated world. For children, having a pet can be especially rewarding. Aside from building great childhood memories with our first best friend, multiple studies indicate that children and animals benefit from each other’s company, and they enjoy some other amazing perks along the way. Having a pet during a child’s formative years is known to have physical, developmental, and emotional benefits.
If you’re considering adding a pet to your family, here are 10 good reasons why it might be a very smart move:
- Pets teach children important social skills. Kids with pets display improved impulse control, social skills, and self-esteem.
- Children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma.
- Kids with pets get outside more. They go for walks, run, and play, and they enjoy all the associated health benefits.
- Pets make excellent companions, especially for only children.
- Having a pet improves communication skills. Walking the dog is sure to bring attention from fellow-dog-walkers and neighbors. This communication can help your children become more conversational.
- Young, emerging readers often feel more comfortable reading aloud to a pet. Having a non-judgmental, comforting, furry friend who "listens" takes the pressure off kids when they stumble.
- Nurturing a pet allows kids to practice being caregivers.
- Feeding and caring for a pet encourages responsibility. By pitching in, your son or daughter will realize that pets, just like people, need food, shelter, exercise, and love.
- Caring for pets teaches valuable lessons about kindness, empathy, and compassion.
- Cuddling a pet reduces stress and anxiety.
The special bond between children and their pets is something magical. The benefits of being unconditionally loved by their furry friends is a priceless treasure that they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Share your favorite pet photos with us! Simply capture your cute critters on camera with your kids and/or family and tag us using #RAACEFanPets. Be sure to include your pet’s name, breed, and your city and state in the caption. We’ll add your furry friend to our RAACE Pets photo album.
Join RAACE by becoming a RAACE Fan and/or subscribing to our monthly newsletter and inviting those within your child's circle of trust to join in the fight against and prevention of child sexual abuse! Visit RAACE.org today or call 1.800.755.KIDS.