Every animal lover knows the benefits and joys of owning pets, but for those slightly reluctant parents who have had one too many pairs of ruined shoes, it might be more difficult to see the good that comes from furry friends. But if you are able to look passed the slobber and hairballs, your children can learn so much from growing up around pets.

The Physical and Psychological Benefits of Growing Up With Pets

RESPONSIBILITY AND OWNERSHIP – When a child grows up with a dog or cat, pet duties often become part of their daily chores. Feeding the dog, taking it for a walk, and picking up its mess all teach children discipline and responsibility. A child who grew up without a pet might not develop that sense of ownership over another living thing. When a child knows they are responsible for the pet, they will begin to take pride in their duties (despite some minor grumbling at times).

SOCIAL SKILLS – These days when kids are glued to the their iPads and television screens, pets make for a great alternative to isolated entertainment. Pets promote interaction, they create friendship, and they even act as a topic of conversation for families.

COMPASSION – For kids, having something to take care of teaches them the value of caring and being compassionate. They can carry this same sense of empathy with them throughout their lives and into adulthood.

COMBAT LONELINESS – Whether a child struggles to make friends in school or doesn’t have any siblings at home, pets can counteract feelings of loneliness and neglect. The loyalty and friendship of a pet can help fill in gaps in their social life and can even help boost their self-esteem.

STAYING ACTIVE – Walking the dog or playing with the cat every day can create a few minutes of activity and interaction that your child needs. Make walking the dog part of your child’s daily routine, and they’ll become accustomed to doing something active every day.

While not everyone has the perfect experience growing up around pets, many adults have fond memories of a certain animal that stuck by their side throughout their childhood. Being able to establish that special connection and bond early on in life can transfer into relationships with friends and family.