Pets are important for children to learn loving life lessons. In the beginning, children are definitely obsessed with their new pets, but this can fade over time. Parents should do what they can to foster a meaningful bond between children and pets at home. In this article, we’re exploring why children should have pets and what you can do to maintain these positive relationships.
The Benefits of Pets for Children
If you’re unsure about buying a pet for your child, some of the positive reasons to bring one home include:
- playing with puppies can lower blood pressure
- children who grow up with animals have less risk of developing asthma and common allergies
- pets encourage children to go outside more, whether that’s for walks, runs or simply to spend time together
- children often feel comfortable reading aloud to their pet
- feeding and nurturing will teach a child about responsibility
- your child can learn impulse control and social skills
- cuddling a pet reduces stress, anxiety and loneliness
- siblings can bond over sharing the responsibilities and love of a pet
Some Important Lessons for Kids
Although it is agreed that having a pet can be an amazing experience for children, it’s important for that experience to be just as good for the animal. Here are some lessons that you can teach your children about handling pets.
No Tail Pulling
This is especially important for toddlers. Remind your child that tails aren’t handles with a simple, “no pulling” command. Emphasis the importance of gentleness with all things.
Little people can be very enthusiastic when they’re patting a soft, fluffy animal. Lead by example and remain vigilant when your child is interacting with their pet. If your child accidentally hurts an animal, stay calm and talk them through the process of seeing a veterinary specialist.
Children often forget that animals can be upset without being touched. As a parent, you must remind your child that they should never throw anything at an animal, startle them or yell at them. It could be dangerous for your child, as well as helping to form a negative association in the animal’s mind.
Take the Time to Learn an Animal’s Non-Verbal Signals
When animals are scared, they will try to protect themselves. A child needs to know that if an animal is trying to run away, they should let them retreat and calm down. Teach your child that hissing, growling, and negative body language are all warning signs of a pet’s emotions at the time. If your animal is displaying these signs without prompting, there is a chance they are suffering from a hidden illness and need to see an emergency animal hospital.
If you have any concerns about your pet’s behaviour, make an appointment with Sydney Veterinary Emergency & Specialists by calling (02) 91997 5800 or contacting us online.