Five Positive Effects of Pets on Child Development


By Karleia Steiner 


While it is adorable to watch children play with pets, there is something deeper happening during those interactions. Most adults who grew up with a household pet will testify to the fact that the experience helped them become the people that they are today. Below we take a look at five positive effects that pets have on child development.

Improves Social Interaction and Empathy

Children who grow up in the presence of a pet have improved social interactions with human beings. They are more empathetic towards others because they become more aware of their fellow beings. The presence of a pet help children to understand that the world does not in fact revolve around them. They also become much more sensitive to the feelings of other living beings, both humans and non-humans. The result is children who are empathetic, socially aware and willing to share.


Kids who care for pets feel an extra sense of responsibility. This empowers them to develop a compassionate attitude towards all living things. It also makes them confident, as they find that they are capable of assisting their furry friends with eating, playing and other activities.

Pets Help With Academics

This might come as a surprise but a household pet can help a child with his homework and performance in school. The Daily Mail reported the results of a study commissioned by a UK based pet store, Pets at Home: 79 percent of children with a pet at home believe that their pet has a positive impact on their academics. Specifically, kids with mice and rats are the most likely to think that their pet improves their academic performance (92 percent). Even though the study isn’t exactly scientific, it shows that children really believe that their pets help them with their studies.

Getting Outside

Children who grow up in the presence of a dog and even some cats will spend significantly more time outdoors. Dogs love to be outside and this brings the kids outside as well. Parents should be aware that a pet will help pull their children away from computers, video games and television sets. Kids love to play fetch with the family dog, take him for walks and just hang out in the sunshine with their furry friend. Over thirty percent of the respondents to the Pets at Home survey stated that they became much more active outdoors as a result of having a family pet.

Animals Are Therapeutic

The presence of an animal in the house serves to relieve stress. While human beings are quick to form cliques and shun outsiders, animals accept people for who they are, no matter what. Simply put, this makes people happier, especially children who are having a difficult time at school. It is worth noting that many municipalities have recently begun using service dogs for children who have to spend time in courtrooms.
Plenty of families decide to adopt a pet for the sake of the children. This is absolutely reason enough to bring a pet into the household. “Only children” will especially benefit from the presence of an animal as their furry friend can act as a pseudo sibling who will provide company, a playmate and someone to care for. Pet owners with any concerns about their pet’s health should visit Brimely-Lawrence Animal Clinic.

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