Do we get a pet?

dreamstime_m_29474200Most parents have had to deal with the big question which often leads to begging, negotiations and promising the moon and the stars. It’s a big decision parents have to sit with, Do we get a pet?

Whether it’s a bird, fish, cat or dog, children love the friendship and unconditional love offered by domestic pets. Not only does it offer companionship, but there are developmental benefits for your child. A child’s physical, emotional, social and cognitive development can all be encouraged by interaction with animals.
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Walking a dog or playing fetch is good exercise for both dogs and children. Small motor skills can be developed by allowing children to scoop food or pour water into dishes, even something as simple as grooming your pet can be beneficial to a young person’s development.
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For children in particular pets can be wonderful social developers. Children are more prone to approach and interact with another child who is playing with a pet and pets are easy topics to chat about when meeting someone new. On the emotional side of childhood development, pets can facilitate various aspects such as self-esteem and a sense of responsibility. As your child grows and develops they will take on more responsibility in looking after the family pet. This in turn will help build self-confidence in them, not only because you are trusting them to take on more responsibility, but also that they themselves can handle more. Someone once said, “Parents teach responsibility, pets just make a good vehicle for learning.”
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As your child grows they may become specifically interested in a certain breed or type of animal. This is a great way to encourage your child to read and do research on their desired subject, thus making a connection to learning fun and interesting. Bring you child along for your family pet’s next TAH visit. That way they have the opportunity to ask your vet questions about correct pet care and the health of your pet.
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Pets are certainly part of the family and the human–animal bond is worth nurturing from a young age. Show your children what gentle caring love for animals looks like and they too will become responsible pet owners finding the joys and rewards only animals can provide.

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