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Did you have a pet when you were growing up? I did. In fact, I had several. Looking back, I’m so grateful I was able to spend my early years with animals. Not only do I have many wonderful memories of my childhood pets, but they also taught me important lessons that I still carry with me today.
As an adult, I love seeing the same thing happen with my nephews and their pets. The bond they all share is so sweet and magical, and I know those boys will treasure it their entire lives.
Not surprisingly, I think every child should have a pet and here are five reasons why.
- Caring for pets teaches responsibility.
Including children in pet-related chores is a terrific way to impart the lesson of responsibility. By assigning age-appropriate tasks like playing with the dog or feeding the cat, kids learn how important it is to follow through with their duties. After all, certain four-legged furries are counting on them! (Of course, the ultimate responsibility for the family pet lies with the grown-ups in the family.)
- Kids learn respect and empathy for others.
Animals are feeling, thinking beings with both physical and emotional needs. Children should be reminded to treat pets with care, play gently with them, and respect their need for space. When parents teach kids to approach pets with kindness, love, and compassion, this easily translates into treating other human beings the same way.
- Children with pets may be healthier.
The health benefits of pet ownership are almost too numerous to count. People with pets have lower blood pressure, less risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and are more physically active. And those same benefits apply to kids! Plus, research has shown that children who have a pet during the first year of life are actually less likely to develop asthma.
- Animals boost self-esteem.
Let’s face it…the business of growing up is tough! But having a pet makes it easier. Pets never judge, never tell your secrets, and always look at you as though you are the smartest, most important person on the planet. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that kids with pets are less likely to suffer from anxiety and have more self-confidence than those that don’t.
- Pets bring the family together.
In this go-go-go world, it can be hard to carve out time to spend together as a family. But having a pet can actually bring parents and children closer by coming together to care for their four-legged family member. All the activities that revolve around Fido or Fluffy – from exercise to grooming to feeding – require teamwork and cooperation. Even something as simple as taking the dog for a walk together or telling a funny story about your cat can help build and strengthen the family bond.
5 Pawe-some Books for Kids Who Have Pets
Caring for a pet can teach kids so much! These books can help kids understand exactly what their fur family needs from them and can strengthen their bond along the way.
A Perfect Pet for Peyton: A 5 Love Languages Discovery Book by Gary D. Chapman and Rick Osborne. This is a story that’s all about giving and receiving love. And isn’t that what having pets is all about? The five children in the book all discover their own personal love language with the help of Mr. Chapman and the unique pets at his special emporium.
Puppy Training: How To Train a Puppy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Positive Puppy Training by Carrie Nichole. Adding a puppy to the family? This is the perfect book to help parents get the kids involved in training a new furry bundle of joy!
101 Dog Tricks: Step by Step Activities to Engage, Challenge, and Bond with Your Dog by Kyra Sundance and Chalcy. Once you’ve got the basics down, you and your children can have some fun teaching your dog some entertaining tricks. Training a dog is great for him mentally and physically, and it’s an amazing way for kids (and grownups) to bond with their tail-wagging friend!
Think Like a Cat: How to Raise a Well-Adjusted Cat–Not a Sour Puss by Pam Johnson Bennet. Written by a cat behavior expert, this is the purr-fect book to help cat parents and their kids understand what makes our kitties tick. And understanding their feline friends is super important if kids are going to enjoy that special bond with them.
The Trainable Cat: A Practical Guide to Making Life Happier for You and Your Cat By John Bradshaw and Sarah Ellis. It’s important to have the whole family on board if you’re going to train your cat. This book explains how to teach your cat valuable skills that can keep her happy and safe. Using the tips in this book can help you and your children to teach your cat to come when called, stop destroying furniture, and even walk on a leash!
Fur-bulous Books for Kids Who Want a Pet
If adopting a pet is in your family’s future, you’ll want to involve the kids in the decision and in the care of their new furry family member. Any of these books can help prepare kids for the responsibilities that come with bringing a pet into the family.
What to Expect When Adopting a Dog: A Guide to Successful Dog Adoption for Every Family by Diane Rose-Solomon. This book offers expert advice from rescue specialists and organizations, veterinarians, dog parents, and pet business owners. It can guide your family through the adoption process, prepare you to welcome your new family member, and point you in the right direction to find relevant articles on dog parenting and useful products too!
Petfinder.com The Adopted Dog Bible: Your One-Stop Resource for Choosing, Training, and Caring for Your Sheltered or Rescued Dog by Kim Saunders. Rescuing a dog is a great way to teach kids to show compassion by helping a pooch in need. This book is an amazing resource for families who open their homes to a dog with a history they may not be fully aware of. It offers great tips for a successful adoption and dog care, including positive ways to retrain and to modify undesirable behaviors. It’s also full of recipes, doggy workouts, heartwarming true stories of adopted dogs and their happy parents, information on saving dogs on a larger scale, and much, much more!
50 Things to Know About Adopting a Cat: Foremost Facts about our Feline Friends by Mikayla Appleby. This book prepares families for the experience of adopting a new kitty. It covers the basics, like feeding, grooming, and cat care supplies. But it also tells you things about cat parenting that you won’t find in a lot of other books. The guidance in this book can help your family give your new feline friend the happiest life possible, which will also increase the joy you experience from the cat-family bond.
I Just Got a Kitten. What Do I Do?: How to Buy, Train, Understand, and Enjoy Your Kitten by Mordecai Siegal. There’s no question that kittens are adorable, but they’re also a handful! This book was written to help families find the kitten that’s right for them and introduce their feline friend safely and successfully into the family. It answers questions about understanding your new kitten’s personality, socializing and bonding with her, as well as kitten behavior, training, and how to solve common problems.
If you had a pet or pets when you were a child, tell me all about them in the comments below!