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Are you raising children with pets in the home? If you are, you know there are some crazy moments! You may get a new puppy and think “what did I do?! I feel like we have another baby in the house!” Or you may be struggling with the need to clean up after and take care of yet another living creature in your world.

But then there are the wonderful moments of play, funny antics, and cuddles that make it all worth the effort. I’ve made a list of 7 benefits of raising children with pets that you might find interesting (later in this post).

For me, the benefits of raising my daughter with a pet in the home far outweigh the challenges. Our little dog, Scarlet, is like a furry sister to our daughter. My girl learns so much from her interactions with Scarlet.

We adopted Scarlet as a puppy two years before my daughter came along. Scarlet has been a challenge from the beginning! She struggles with anxiety issues that we are constantly working with her to overcome. A few years ago we moved to a new house, which for some reason was not a good place for little Scarlet. She had a very tough time for the entire year and a half that we lived there. Often she would even be unwilling to eat. We worked with a vet to find solutions for our dear little dog. One of the best things for her is to get her out on a little excursion with the family to play.

Recently we visited a new park in our area to let Scarlet explore. This also gives us a great excuse to get outside together as a family!

She spotted the lake and geese right away!

In her little mind she was working through her fear of water vs. her desire to meet a goose…

I was just enjoying the pretty scenery…

Here is a small, wet, happy dog! She never got near the geese, but she did voluntarily play in the water.

Another tool that I use for Scarlet is actually food. When she is showing signs of anxiety, one of my first clues is that she stops eating. Feeding her some good quality wet food is important because it’s the one thing I know she will never turn down!

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We are using Purina® Beyond® grain free pet food and treats, which I’m really happy with. It was easy to find at Meijer in the pet food section. Plus, From June 7- June 23, 2015 Meijer ‘mPerks’ shoppers will be able to take advantage of special savings on Purina Beyond products:

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As much work as it takes to keep Scarlet happy and healthy, she gives a lot back to us that I don’t think we focus on often enough. I love seeing the bond between her and her human “sister.”

Plus, she’s kind of cute! Her one silly little ear that sticks straight up is so unique!

Do you have pets in your home? It’s really an important thing to do for your children if you can.

Here are 7 benefits for your child when you raise them with pets in the home:

Self-Esteem
Studies show that children raised with pets have higher self esteem. This is likely due to the consistent and dependable companionship that the pet offers combined with the sense of responsibility that the child feels toward the animal.

Comfort
There is nothing like the company of a furry friend to bring a child comfort when they’re scared, sad, or nervous.

Empathy
It is important to help children develop a strong sense of compassion and empathy for others. Pets are so helpful in this endeavor.

Physical Activity
Pets need to be walked and played with regularly. Activities like playing fetch, going for a walk/run, tug-of-war, and others are wonderful ways to help children get more exercise.

Social Interaction
A child can actually learn important social interaction skills by playing with and taking care of their pets. Dogs in particular are great at communicating and listening.

Cognitive Development
Children become attached to their pets and may find a special interest in certain breeds. The desire to learn more about their pets, breed, and animals in general is wonderful for developing cognitive skills. Take your children along to veterinarian appointments when possible, talk with them about what makes their pet special and unique, and help them find books about animals at the library.

Responsibility
From an early age, children can learn responsibility by taking care of their pets. First they learn to be gentle when they’re little kids. Then as they grow up, kids begin to learn how to care for their pet by feeding them, protecting them, playing with them, and giving them opportunities for physical activity.

Plus plenty of opportunities for silliness!

And they’re cute… even when they’re wet from chasing geese in lakes!

Have a happy day!

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6 Comments on 7 Benefits of Raising Children with Pets

  1. Jenna Wood
    June 22, 2015 at 3:33 pm (2 years ago)

    This is such a wonderful article. You are very right, the benefits outweight the obstacles when it comes to pets and kids, but you do have to be smart about when, who, and where you introduce pets to the family. Thanks for the great tips! #client

    Reply
  2. Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven Not Harvard
    June 23, 2015 at 4:24 am (2 years ago)

    Your daughter is adorable! I think that your points are fantastic. I may have overdone it trying to give her the benefits of pet ownership. We have two dogs, a cat, a fish, a lizard, and a frog, and grasshoppers and crickets that are kind of pets until they are food for the lizard and frog. Daddy has brought home baby pigs a few times as well, although, I drew the line at wild boar piglets. We have quite the menagerie happening here. She will certainly grow up learning about many types of animals and knowing how to love and care for her friends. I would add to your list understanding death, birth, illness. Some of these are hard to talk about and having a pet can make those tough lessons more accessible.

    Reply
  3. Rosevine Cottage Girls
    June 24, 2015 at 1:44 am (2 years ago)

    Love this! I grew up with all kinds of "pets" and I loved it! Your daughter is adorable and so is your dog!

    Reply
  4. Maria Hass
    June 24, 2015 at 2:07 am (2 years ago)

    First, you're a great photographer! Secondly, yes! The benefits far outweigh the clean up we deal with. Studies even show that it helps build kid's immune systems and makes them have less allergic reactions! Thirdly, I love how you work with Scarlet through her anxiety issues! That is super sweet. *thumbs up*

    Reply
  5. Katy Kauffman
    June 25, 2015 at 6:08 pm (2 years ago)

    You have a sweet-looking dog and little girl! Thank you for this post. I can relate to it since I had a pretty cool cat for 18 years. It was hard when I out-lived him, but knowing him all that time gave me so much love and company. Especially as an only child.

    Reply
  6. Lisa L.
    July 1, 2015 at 10:55 pm (2 years ago)

    Great post – and love the photos of your daughter and pup! The benefits of having pets are so far-reaching. If you told me before we got our three that they would be such a great addition to our family and our lives, I would have perhaps half-believed it. But it's true. All you have here and more are great reasons to have pets if you're able.

    Reply

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