Benefits of having a pet. There are many more than you think!

Benefits of having a pet

Be it playing with a poodle or feeding a purring feline, pets can bring lots of warmth and joy to their owners, regardless of age. Besides being lots of fun, there are several benefits of having a pet. 

Here are some reasons why getting a pet is beneficial for you and your family.

2 hamsters eating and the benefits of having a pet

Children who grow up having pets at home are generally less vulnerable to some allergies owing to early exposure to some types of bacteria.

A 2012 research stated that children who lived with dogs were typically less sickly than children without dogs during their initial year of life, with fewer ear infections and respiratory problems [1].

Other data reveal that having a pet benefits kids in various ways. Preliminary studies have depicted that pets can decrease stress cortisol levels,reduce loneliness, enhance mood, and strengthen a sense of social support [2]. 

You may be curious if the additional responsibility of having a pet may be worth the time, commitment and effort, especially if you are mulling over getting one. We explore how having a pet or pets is beneficial to your family, especially to your kids if you have them. 

How can your kid benefit from having a pet?

#1: Reduces stress

Life can be stressful for your kids, regardless of their age. Academic struggles, friendship problems and even self-confidence issues can beleaguer your kids and adversely impact their overall quality of life. However, a pet can decrease the amount of stress your kid or kids may be feeling. Pets offer companionship and fun, as well as reduce the stress hormone cortisol while raising the release of dopamine and oxytocin, which are anti-stress or feel-good hormones [2].

#2: Reduces loneliness

Pets can reduce your kids’ loneliness, particularly if your kids have difficulties making or finding friends.  Many pets, especially the furry ones like cats and dogs, can provide affection and warmth for lonely kids via close contact. Besides, pets can be temporary confidantes for kids who have trouble connecting with other human beings. These kids may find connecting with their pets way easier [2].

#3: Reduces anxiety

Pets can reduce symptoms of anxiety. Researchers have discovered that when an abused child can have his or her anxiety reduced when there is a dog around. Therefore, the abused child can more easily relate his or her experiences. Similarly, lawyers may have a dog in a courtroom to calm victims of abuse [2].

#4: Instills empathy 

Pets rely on human beings for their sustenance as the former are unable to make their food or obtain water by themselves. Human beings also have to take care of pets’ health, entertainment and overall well-being. Kids who take care of pets can develop a sense of empathy and compassion as they learn to care for their pets’ well-being and comfort. Parents can leverage upon pet ownership to educate kids about the necessity of taking care of other forms of life, besides human life. 

#5: Unconditional acceptance

A pet does not judge or reject its owner, regardless of circumstance. A kid may be unpopular in school but his or her pet may still welcome them nonetheless. Pet ownership reassures the owner or owners that the bond between them and their pets remains, even if life circumstances are not so favorable [2].

#6: Inculcates responsibility

Educating kids on the importance of  responsibility can be challenging for parents. Yet having a pet can motivate kids to be responsible as pets are dependent on kids for their lives and sustenance.When a pet depends on its human owner to be fed or to learn tricks, the kid would be motivated to provide the pet with what it needs to ensure a contented pet. Moreover, tasks like walking the dog, clearing up the litter box or feeding a hamster would instill in kids a sense of responsibility and accountability to others around them. 

#7: Encourages physical exercise

Pets encourage physical exercise in their owners. If you enjoy physical activity and the outdoors, get a pet that suits your lifestyle. Pets provide high energy to kids that can spur kids to burn off energy and get them moving, instead of letting kids be glued to screens [2]. For example, walking dogs can encourage kids to embrace outdoor activities like hiking or climbing hills. 

Before getting your pet, conduct research about pet ownership as well as consider the benefits and potential challenges a pet can bring to your family.  Once you get a pet,  you also need to be responsible for its sustenance  and have to commit to ensuring it gets ample food, exercise, and vet care.


[1] C. W. E. Maria Masters, “The benefits of pets for kids,” What to Expect, 27-Apr-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 24-Aug-2022]. 

[2] S. Gordon, “9 benefits kids get from owning a pet,” Verywell Family, 01-Oct-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 24-Aug-2022]. 


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