Are your little ones begging for a puppy to cuddle or a tortoise they can feed? Well, owning a pet is a big part of many children’s lives. Yet, many parents are unsure about the idea of having a pet as it can involve a large amount of commitment and responsibility. But before you say no, maybe it’s good to look at why having a pet can be beneficial for your children’s health and development.
Benefits of Pet Ownership
Here are a few reasons why owning a pet can be beneficial for your children:
1. Provides valuable companionship
Having a pet improves one’s mental well-being, ward off feelings of loneliness and keep depression at bay. Studies have shown that playing with pets can increase levels of “happy chemicals” such as serotonin and dopamine which helps one feel more calm and relaxed.
2. Teaches life important skills
Pets can teach children empathy and responsibility. Daily tasks such as walking the dog or cleaning out the hamster cage teaches children to be responsible as well as equipping them with essential life skills. Looking after a pet also helps children to develop empathy for others which will improve their social standings later down the road.
3. Helps children with learning and coping skills
Dealing with the inevitable death of a pet, can teach children about the cycle of life. It can be natural for parents to want to protect children from experiencing difficult emotions at an early age. Handling grief and loss at an early age can help children get in touch with their emotions and prepare children to cope with other challenging life events in the future.
Ways to tackle children’s pet allergies
Unfortunately, pets can also trigger an allergic response in some. Common symptoms of children’s pet allergies include watery and itchy eyes, stuffy nose and sneezing. That said, it is possible to take steps to reduce your child’s symptoms if the allergies are not too severe.
1. Wash your hands
Remind your child to wash his hands with soap and water after touching the pet, so as to prevent the spread of any allergens or germs to their nose, mouth and eyes. If your children are younger than five years old, it may be a good idea to supervise and guide them.
2. Practice good pet hygiene
One of the common problems faced with allowing children to have pets is the eye-irritation that could come with it. For your children’s eye care, it is wise to use a central air cleaner to minimise blowing allergens throughout the house. Avoid hugging, petting and kissing your pet and limit the number of rooms they can access if your children are allergic to pets.
3. Keep your pets healthy
It is essential to provide your pet with dependable pet health insurance, a good diet, and daily exercise. Part of keeping them healthy is also to ensure that they are bathed weekly. Weekly baths reduce the amount of allergy-causing dander pets shed, which can lessen the risk of allergic reactions. By keeping pets healthy, you are keeping yourself and your children healthy!
Pet allergies are a common challenge and the severity also varies from individual to individual.
Fortunately, if it is not too serious, practicing good hygiene, proper children’s eye care and keeping your pets healthy can help to alleviate the symptoms. Despite the benefits a pet can bring, every family has to decide for themselves if they can manage their children’s pet allergies before deciding to get them one.