Do you have a small child at home and are considering adopting a pet? Or, do you have a pet at home already and you’re expecting a baby any day now?

You can rest assured that the combination of a child & a pet is a good one! The power of pets has been well-documented for adults. But did you know that having a pet is great for babies and toddlers too?

Why Having a Pet is Great for Babies

If you’ve got a kid but haven’t got a pet, now may be the time to consider adding a furry friend to your family! Here are just a few of the reasons having a pet is great for babies and toddlers.

  1. Builds their Immune System
  2. Teaches Respect & Compassion
  3. Provides Emotional Support
  4. Increases Exercise & Play
  5. Teaches Responsibility
  6. Life Lessons

Builds their Immune System

Scientists have been researching the effects of having pets in the home for some time now. You may be surprised at how good it can be for your little ones!

Studies have shown that babies and toddlers who grow up around dogs have a stronger immune system than kiddies who don’t.

Why Having a Pet is Great for Babies

There are two specific areas in which research has focused on and seen results:

  • Number one, allergy development in children. Studies have suggested (1) that the risk of developing allergies decreases significantly in children aged 7 to 9 years when they have pets living with them during their first year of life.
  • Secondly, skin conditions like eczema and dermatitis appear to have less chance of developing in babies and toddlers who have pets. This study (2) shows a 20 to 30 percent increase in protection against these kinds of skin disorders and allergies.

Teaches Respect & Compassion

A dog or cat isn’t going to be the single thing that teaches a child compassion and respect. Only good parenting can do that!

Having a beloved pet in the house helps children understand what respect and compassion look like. They teach kids how to cultivate these characteristics at a young age. Start ’em young we always say!

Watching how their parents treat a pet teaches children how to treat sentient creatures. They learn the value of life in more forms than just humans. They will understand that pets are part of the family and should be treated as such.

This study (3) showed that having a pet in the home led to a number of positive effects. Having a pet led to:

  • Reduced aggression
  • Higher happiness
  • The humane treatment of their peers, strangers, and animals.
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Provides Emotional Support

The third reason why having a pet is great for babies and toddlers is that they act as emotional support! It can be tough being a kid, whether at school or in kindergarten.

Young children can’t properly articulate when or why they’re feeling a certain emotion. It can be difficult for us to console them when they’re feeling big emotions. Pets, on the other hand, are the perfect shoulder to cry on.

Why Having A Pet Is Great For Toddlers

Image Source: Unsplash

Pets don’t judge or get frustrated when a toddler can’t put their finger on an emotion or a reason. Toddlers often have long conversations with their pets. They’re more willing to do this with a pet than a parent sometimes.

Growing up with a pet allows your baby or toddler to have a close and trusted friend in which they can always find comfort. This can be invaluable as your child gets older.

Pets can be there when:

  • A child experiences emotions that they aren’t sure how to handle
  • When they need an unbiased & ever-loving support system
  • Or just when they need a good cuddle

Increases Exercise & Play

These days, more and more children are being handed a tablet or smartphone before they can even speak. It’s a natural thing for the babies of these latest generations to spend more time indoors in front of a screen than outdoors getting fresh air.

What happens when a child doesn’t get enough fresh air?

  • Studies show (4) that increased screen time and decreased “green time” have a high potential to lead to mental health problems in younger and younger generations.
  • More specific to toddlers, this research (5) indicates that kids of this age spend more than an hour a day in front of a screen. They tend to have more behavioral and developmental problems than children who spend less time in front of a screen.
Why Having A Pet Is Great For Exercise And Play

Having a dog in your baby or toddler’s life can play a huge role in reducing screen time and increasing green time.

Time spent outdoors, exercising, playing and being imaginative, and connecting with nature is always more beneficial. The fluff of a dog is also an excellent sensory experience for your child.

Teaches Responsibility

If your baby grows up around pets, they see you feeding, bathing, and looking after the pup and cat. It’s never too early to start teaching your child responsibility. What better way to teach your child about being responsible than to involve your beloved family pet?

When your baby is still very young, allow them to watch you feeding your pet, bathing them, grooming them, or taking them to the vet. As they grow into toddlers, involve them directly in these activities.

It’s also an excellent opportunity to teach your child to be gentle to animals. Responsibility is one thing, but it should be done with love and kindness.

Life Lessons

The sixth & final reason why having a pet is great for babies and toddlers is that they teach valuable life lessons.

Babies and toddlers may not understand much about life, but they’ll surely learn as they get older. Having pets in the home from a young age gives your children opportunities to learn about birth, death, illness, accidents, loss, mourning, and reproduction.

It also provides chances to learn about other things like kindness, gentleness and unconditional love.

Conclusion

Pets are excellent for our kids in so many ways. If your baby or toddler doesn’t have a furry friend yet, now may be the time to consider getting one.

On top of your baby or toddler’s immune system be strengthened, a pet can:

  • Help them grow up to be more caring
  • Teach responsibility
  • Help them become a well-rounded human being

Who doesn’t want that for their children? Of course, your kid will also have a friend who loves them unconditionally. And who knows, you may be saving an animal’s life too. Why not adopt a pet today?

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About the Author

Mike Powell has had dogs in his life since he was a child. His first introduction to them was his father’s military colleagues’ canine companions, where he learned just what amazing friends they can be. As an adult, his dogs are involved in every aspect of his life. Mike shares dog-related info, including nutrition, exercise, and accessories, on his blog, Dog Embassy.

Sources:

  1. NCBI
  2. NCBI
  3. NCBI
  4. Plos One
  5. Italian Journal of Pediatrics

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Say hello to Deborah!

I’m Deborah! My mission is to show others by demonstration, that no living being, human & non, be sacrificed for beautiful, healthy & durable furniture & decor.

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