Over the years, human-animal interaction studies have shown that
pets such as cats and dogs can have incredibly positive effects on
all areas of child and teen development.
Pets and children: what a beautiful
friendship. Studies into the role pets play in developing
children's social networks have revealed a great deal about
human-animal interactions. A number of children were asked who they
would turn to in certain emotionally-charged situations - like the
divorce of their parents or an argument with a sibling. An
overwhelming majority said they would seek out their pet for
It was also discovered that children confide in their pets,
talking to them, expressing fears and emotions in much the same way
we interact with a human confidante.
Kids love animals - and it seems the feeling
is mutual. Pets can help facilitate learning and have a number of
positive effects on a child's development. Schools are now
promoting the benefits of pets into their community, by creating
pet clubs, special pet days and offering pet education programs.
For children, pets at school foster a sense of responsibility and
respect for life.
Programs like the 'Operation Safe: Kids 'n' Pets' run by the
Animal Welfare League of New South Wales offers wonderful learning
programs to teach all levels of school children about responsible
pet ownership and animal behaviour. Topics include: pets in the
community, the basics of pet care, what happens when people don't
want their pets and pets and the law.
Children who have contact with cats or dogs
during the first year of their life may be less allergic later on.
Researchers discovered that early exposure to pets is associated
with a reduced risk of asthma and other allergies. Good grooming,
hygiene and diet can reduce cat owners' asthma symptoms by up to 95
Pet allergies can be triggered by 'dander' better known as tiny
skin flakes which fall off cats and dogs.