Having a pet can be great fun but it’s also a lot of work so if you’re asking your parent or carer for one, make sure you really want it and are prepared to look after it!
If it’s a dog, you’ll have to walk it, play with it, toilet train it, teach it to behave – it’s a big responsibility.
However, besides the fact that you now have this cute little animal in your life, there are lots of benefits to having a pet that you might not have known about.
Here are some great reasons why every child should have a pet to tell your parent or carer if they’re still on the fence:
1. They teach you about responsibility
Be prepared to get your hands dirty when you get a pet – literally and metaphorically! If you ask for a pet, you have to put the work in. That means knowing when to feed it, learning how to toilet train it, taking it for walks, making sure it’s groomed, knowing when to give it flea or worm medicine etc.
It’s a big responsibility but it’s definitely worth it!
2. They reduce anxiety and stress
As well as bringing fun and laughter to your home, having a pet can also reduce your stress levels just by sitting beside you.
Stroking a dog, cat or any type of animal is a form of sensory stress relief and has been proven to reduce blood pressure and help you feel calmer if you’re upset.
3. They make you feel safer and more secure
If your parents or carers work late or aren’t around the house as much as you’d like, having a pet can ease that separation anxiety and add a sense of security.
Their loving, non-judgemental presence makes them the perfect candidate to talk to when you’re lonely or have a problem that you’re not ready to talk to people about.
4. They promote a healthier lifestyle
Studies have shown that dog owners are more likely to reach their daily exercise quota than people without dogs. Hail, rain or shine, a dog needs to be walked which means you will automatically become fitter and healthier as a result. Win-win!
5. They contribute to your confidence and positive self-image
It’s not something that happens overnight but taking care of something besides yourself gives you a sense of purpose and accomplishment unlike anything else. As you watch your pet thrive, not only will you feel good about yourself but it will also make you more confident in your approach to other areas of your life like school, friends and exploring your talents.
6. They add structure and routine to your day
When you own a pet, you need to remember to feed it, clean it’s cage, take it for a walk, groom it, etc. If you’ve previously struggled with getting out of bed early at the weekend, all it takes is one sad look from your dog and you’ll be pulling on your runners and taking it for a long walk in the park before you have time to think about it!
7. They bring joy and unconditional love to your life
Anyone who has ever owned a family dog will tell you there’s nothing quite like the greeting you get from them when you walk in the door.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve been away for a day, a month or a year, their excitement at seeing you will make your heart overflow with happiness and you’ll know what it’s like to feel truly loved and appreciated.
Remember: Owning a pet costs money and requires a lot of time and attention so if it isn’t the right time for your family to get one, it’s important to respect that.
In the meantime, do your research and learn about various animals or different breeds of dogs or cats to see which one is most suitable for your home. Then, when the time is right, you’ll be ready!