Children love pets – and for good reason. Animals large and small can educate, delight and offer a unique kind of companionship.
"Along with the responsibility it brings, having a pet is also fun"
In the UK, an estimated 12 million households (46%) have a pet. Learning how to care for a pet can help to teach kids life-lessons of responsibility, showing affection and respecting boundaries. Plus, of course, few things are as rewarding as looking after another being who can become a best friend!
Walking a dog or running around the garden with a pet is a great way to get kids outdoors and more active. Allowing younger children to help scoop food and fill water bowls can not only help build a sense of responsibility, it can also help to improve their coordination skills.
Treat to buy: Do cat-ch up! Your kitty will love to chase the Hartz Just for Cats Feather Ball Teaser.
Caring for a pet may additionally boost aspects of a child’s emotional development, too – such as self-esteem and enhancing their social skills. Close relationships with dogs and cats are linked to the development of empathy in children with one study showing that 75% of 11-14-year-olds turn to their pets when they’re upset.
In fact, assistance dogs are even used in schools to help learning-challenged pupils improve their reading skills. A child who feels too nervous to read aloud to an adult can find it easier to read to a pet.
Treat to buy: The ultimate cat snacks. Bon a-pet-treat! Dreamies Cat Treats with Tasty Chicken.
Fun for all
Along with the responsibility it brings, having a pet is also fun. Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird, rabbit or small furry animal, a pet can bring joy to any home!
Treat to buy: Cattitude! Bond with your cat using Hartz Just for Cats Mini Mice Trio.
‘Daisy has taught the boys to be affectionate’
Jardine Howlett from Sutton lives with her sons Max, five, and Leo, two, and cat Daisy, five. She says, ‘We got Daisy in September 2012 from animal charity Cats Protection when Max was just one. She adores the boys and acts like Leo’s nanny. She’ll join him for his nap and, in the evenings, keeps watch by his door. Leo helps feed her, covers her with blankets and always kisses her goodbye.’