The UK is known for being a nation of animal lovers and so it is not surprising that a 2015 Pet Population Report estimated almost half of UK households own a pet giving a total of approximately 58 million pets.
I feel that owning a pet (or in my case plural , 3 x cats & 1 dog) will enable my son to grow up having learnt a whole variety of skills which he can hopefully translate to other areas of his life. I see a pet bringing behaviour improvements, emotional benefits and most importantly health advantages. I recently stumbled across a report resulting from a survey and studies run by pets at home in 2015 which confirms my beliefs.
Children are being given the opportunity to care for pets on a daily basis. At this young age they are taught what a responsibility it is and so understand what work and commitment is involved in owning a pet. Their relationships towards others should improve as they learn about compassion which could also help reduce self focus. Pets can become a comfort tool where the children find they can open up if they are upset as their pets wont laugh at them or tease them.
They provide a great way to get our children learning about nature, getting fresh air and exercise can work wonders for a childs night sleep ( I can vouch for this first hand!) It will also bring less sedentary members of the household out and about. The survey felt that people who were dog owners were deemed friendlier and more sociable than non-dog owners. So if you’ve got a dog to enjoy some nice quiet walks alone think again!!
Pets have been known to have benefits if a child is finding it hard to concentrate or are anxious about performing a certain task. The study showed that when a dog was placed in a classroom of children they were able to perform tasks better and faster making fewer mistakes.
It has also been studied and documented that exposure to dogs in the first years of life can mean a lower incidence of hay fever and asthma for our children.
So owning a pet has surely got to mean a happy healthier family? It is important to remember that an adult should always be supervising our children when they are around their pets. We must also communicate and teach our children the
5 Welfare Needs:
- We Must Provide : A safe and suitable place for them to live
- A proper diet including fresh water
- The ability to express normal behaviours
- Suitable Housing
- Protect from pain, suffering, injury and disease
It is also important if we are thinking about obtaining a pet we get the right type of pet for our family lifestyle. Source it from a reliable place ie animal charity/re-homing centre/RESPONSIBLE breeder and avoid buying through newspapers and online ads.