8 Ways Pets Are Good for You
Here are some of the ways your furry friends benefit your kids.
Welcoming a four-legged friend to your family might add a little chaos at first, but studies show that growing up with a pet can lead to loads of benefits. Here are eight advantages of getting a pet
In one study at the University of Florida, kids completed a public-speaking and mental- arithmetic task (activities that raise cortisol levels) with either their dog or a parent present for social support, or no one. Kids who had their dog with them said they felt less stressed compared with the kids who had a parent with them or no support. Plus, snuggling with a furry pet lowers your blood pressure levels, and it raises "good mood" chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.
When children are born into a home that already has a pet, they develop higher levels of gut microbes that protect them against allergies and obesity, found a study published in Microbiome.
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Strengthen Social Skills
Kids with autism who live with any kind of pet are more likely to engage in a variety of social situations such as introducing themselves, asking for info, or responding to people’s questions, according to research from the University of Missouri.
In a 2011 Michigan State University study, half the dog walkers averaged 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week; only a third of the non-dog-walkers moved as much.
Divvy up pet-related chores to your children to teach responsibility. For example, on odd-numbered days, tell your son to fill his food and water bowls and take him for daily walks – no exemptions for bad moods or bad weather. Your daughter must do the same on even-numbered days.
In a South African study, school-age kids who were considered poor readers read to either a dog, a teddy bear, an adult, or no one. After reading for 20 minutes a week for ten weeks, those who partnered with pups had the highest reading rate, accuracy, and comprehension.
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Feel Less Lonely
Pet owners tend to be less lonely and have higher self-esteem, says a 2011 Miami University and St. Louis University study. And animals offer comfort as well as joy, since they lend a nonjudgmental ear to kids' secrets and sorrows. As the saying goes: "To err is human, to forgive, canine."
Teach About Life
Animals often provide the first lessons about life: birth, reproduction, illnesses, accidents, and death.