Having a pet can have major, long term benefits for kids’ health and development. Furry companions help to promote physical fitness and an emotional sense of purpose, and to lower stress. Playing or cuddling with pets can reduce cortisol and increase oxytocin, making kids calmer and less prone to anxiety. Pet ownership can improve kids’ social skills in ways that will pay off at school and in life. Having a pet also makes kids less lonely, and improves their emotional intelligence.
- Data shows that pet ownership encourages physical activity and healthy habits, besides reducing stress levels.
- Children that own and take care of a pet tend to have a more developed sense of purpose.
- One Finnish study showed that children born into families with dogs were less likely to develop colds and ear infections.
“But what we may not realize is that pets have positive effects on children’s mental health, and that these effects are long-lasting.”