Pets and kids.

At Oakhurst Veterinary Hospital, we believe that our animal companions are much more than pets. They’re part of the family, and if there are children in the household, pets provide opportunities for kiddos to learn and grow as individuals. Plus, pet ownership can have health benefits too!

In case you’re still on the fence, our pet experts have compiled some of the benefits of having a pet for a child. And when you do welcome your new pet, we’re here with wellness care for all ages (puppy and kitten through senior pets) and a full range of veterinary services to keep your new family member healthy and happy.

Read on for the reasons why every family should have a pet!

1. Pets Are Purrfect Confidants

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children feel comfortable talking through their private thoughts and secrets with their pets. A close relationship with a pet can also help a child develop non-verbal communication. 

And for young readers (and singers!) who want to practice away from parents and siblings, pets make great listeners.

2. Pet Care Teaches Responsibility

When children are given age-appropriate pet care tasks, it teaches them responsibility, empathy, and an appreciation of living things.

Young children can help by adding food or clean water to the pet dishes, playing with the pet and her favorite pet toys, or pitch in with simple grooming duties like brushing.

Older children can get more involved (with parental supervision) when it comes to cleaning up after a pet goes potty or helping out with walks. 

3. Pets Get Kids (and Families!) Outside

Pets provide a natural alternative to screen time, plus, dogs in particular need plenty of exercise, and this gives kids a reason to go outside. 

And when you make daily dog walking a family affair, everyone benefits! Children who are old enough can take turns holding the leash and choosing the route. It’s a great way for families to bond and talk about the day.

4. Pet Ownership Exposes Children to the Great Circle of Life

Adopting a new puppy or kitten, choosing the perfect name, and nurturing her into adulthood provides teachable moments regarding birth, healthy living choices, accidents, and perhaps the most difficult topic to discuss with children: loss of life. Navigating the ups and downs of loving a pet brings families together and teaches profoundly valuable life lessons.

5. Pet Ownership Improves Both Mental and Physical Health 

Pets provide children with sources of comfort, unconditional love, and affection. Plus, interacting with pets can reduce stress and anxiety, alleviate loneliness, and boost confidence and self-esteem.

Children raised in homes with cats or dogs also show a reduced risk of developing allergies and asthma. And cuddling a dog or a cat can actually help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

If we can answer any other questions about pets and kids, please let us know. We are always here for you and your pets!