Many parents want their children to benefit from growing up with a pet. It teaches them everything from the circle of life to the many responsibilities of animal ownership. But there are many other reasons to put an animal in a child's life.
Let’s take dogs for example, while some of them experience allergies themselves, these are not passed onto children. Still some parents will worry that having a pet in the house will put their child at an increased risk of being exposed to allergens, when in reality, actually the opposite is true.
In one study from the University of Wisconsin, having an animal in your home from the time of birth can actually influence a child’s immune development and reduce the likelihood of certain allergies developing.
Each year for three years, researchers looked at homes with infants and compared those with canines to those without, and found out that:
- When it comes to wheezing, those with dogs are less likely to develop this breathing disorder that can lead to asthma. Still, some parents will worry that having a pet in the house will put their child at an increased risk of being exposed to allergens, when in reality, the opposite is true.
- For skin conditions, developing AD, a type of eczema, was less prevalent for children who had dogs than those who did not
Early exposure to these animals seems to be the key, since older children don’t seem to have the same health rewards compared to infants.
The more the merrier
Although it seems that the younger the child the better the benefits, according to ABC News, not only are kids with pets less likely to develop allergies, more animals are better.
Children with two or more dogs (and/or cats) in their household reduce their risks of developing an allergy by up to 77% for some. Not only are they less likely to have an adverse reaction to pet dander, these animals can also help children build up a tolerance against dust mites, ragweed and blue grass.
Happier and more active
We don’t need a scientific report to prove that most kids are simply happier with the constant companionship a pet provides. Not only do animals reduce stress, they also make people more active. With childhood obesity on the rise all around the world, as parents we should be doing everything possible to get our kids more active. Having a pet is just one way to get them to exercise more often.
As a matter of fact, studies have shown that those kids with a dog in their life exercise an average of eleven minutes more a day than a child without one. While this likely comes from a daily need to walk them, we’re also more likely to simply play with them and be active in other ways around these cuddly creatures.
We’ve all seen the cute pictures of young girls with their cats and read stories about a boy and his dog. While this bond can be priceless for them during these formidable years, we now have scientific evidence that bringing them into their life when they are just babies offers many health rewards and other benefits.