Pets are a source of joy in many people’s lives; they comfort us, play with us, cuddle with us, and teach us about responsibility. When it comes to children, however, reasons to own a pet extend beyond simple friendship. Research shows us the emotional and mental health benefits of pet ownership for children include everything from anxiety reduction to improved language skills.
What research says about the health benefits of pet ownership
Anyone with a cherished pet memory already knows how invaluable companion pets can be, but now researchers say they have evidence to prove there is a link between a child’s well-being and owning a pet.
The findings were published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health and revealed children with pets:
- Have better social skills
- Have broader social networks
- Behave in more socially acceptable ways in groups
- Build more productive and affectionate relationships
- Encourage improved language skills through verbal pet commands
- Have a higher desire to learn
- Have improved memories
- Have higher attention spans
- Have improved literacy skills
Researchers also found pets helped children learn to manage time, pay attention, and hone organizational skills.
The report authors concluded such benefits ultimately lead childhood pet owners to better educational outcomes.