Pet ownership is a great experience and most kids love the idea of having a pet, often forgetting the harder aspects of looking after a living, breathing animal. And parents are sometimes correct in assuming that they will be the ones that end up doing the grunt work. But there are so many rewarding aspects for kids and parents to reap from owning a pet. Generally speaking though, the benefits of owning a pet definitely far outweigh any negatives.

Benefits of owning a pet come in many different forms, as can the negatives.

Some of the positive effects on mental health and development include:

1. Sharing a family pet helps strengthen bonds between family members.

2. Kids just starting to learn to read generally feel more comfortable reading to a pet. Those that do practice reading aloud to a pet have shown a 12% improvement rate over a 10-week period.

3. By setting up a schedule for the kids to follow, in relation to the care of your pet, you can teach them organisation. Once following a plan or schedule becomes habit, it wouldn’t be too much of a leap to include some homework or other activities into the equation.

4. By encouraging children to feed and care for their pet, it teaches them empathy and kindness and allows them to display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem.

5. The ownership and walking of a pet, specifically a dog, increases social interaction. It also helps to ease people out of social isolation and shyness.

6. Cuddling with a pet has shown to reduce stress, loneliness and anxiety.

Here are some positive effects on physical health and wellbeing with a focus on puppy and dog ownership.

7. Children whom have grown up with a pet since birth have less risk of developing asthma, autoimmune diseases and allergies.

8. Pets, dogs in particular, are said to help lower blood pressure.

9. Dog owners are 34% more likely to fit in 150 minutes of walking per week.

10. Dog owners are more physically active, as they are encouraged to go outside more to exercise and play with their pets.

11. Those that exercise with their pets regularly have a decreased risk of diabetes.

As with everything, there are always going to be disadvantages. The primary disadvantages of owning a pet include the responsibility, the cost, and the space needed. In the end it’s up to you to decide if the pros outweigh the cons, but one thing is for sure; a furry friend is sure to teach valuable life lessons and love you unconditionally!