The idea of adding a pet to your brood can seem daunting, for sure, but many of us are unaware of the fantastic benefits children gain from having a pet. Instead of thinking about it as another mouth to feed or expense, think about expanding your family and teaching your children about certain skills and responsibilities they would come to know otherwise.

Read on to check out 15 Ways Having A Pet Benefits Your Child and see how quickly you buckle under pressure of seeing your kids big eyes light up when they see that puppy walk past them.

15. Teaches Them Responsibility

I think all parents who are on the fence about getting a pet or not, probably pull the trigger and go through with it when they recognize what a wonderful opportunity this is to teach your kid about taking care of something that is more vulnerable than even they are.

Even little kids who can’t yet take a pet for a walk or clean, can be given little chores, bit by bit, like filling the dog bowl with food to know what accountability and dependability is all about.

14. Develops Their Empathy

Let’s be real – most kids don’t know how to share, even when they’re regular daycare attendees, until they master compassion and empathy. Animals, then, by far, are the best teachers of how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and can really open your child’s eyes to acknowledging another’s pain.

It begins with needing to take care of something that cannot feed itself and grows into building skills of justice, kindness as well as preventing violence.

13. Gets Them Outside and Active

Many families these days are going old school and not just getting chickens, but going as far as building a mini farm of sorts. If you’re not a dog person who would clearly need to be outside everyday to take the dog on a walk, having a little chicken coup or an inspiring mini farms a perfect way to get outside in the fresh air and get active without feeling like you are.

When you bring a pet into your home it’s also imperative that you don’t just disappear once you know the kids have got it under control – for the most part. You actively should head out the door along their side and be engaged in the new adventures your pet can open you up to.

12. Teaches Control and Patience

A pet you bring into your home will need to be domesticated to some level, depending on what animal they are. Since it’s just like teaching your little one a new skill (think sleep training or potty training), it’ll provide an ample opportunity for your child to learn how to wait for something and be patient while doing so.

You cannot hurry biological creature and expect them to be comfortable in their new home and habitat right off the get go. Having a pet and needing to have the capacity to accept delay and have self-restraint when it comes to acting on something is a lifeskill that’ll prove irreplaceable in your child’s adult life.

11. Wards Off Allergies and Asthma

Allergens in kids (and adults) have been shown to be reduced over time with gradual exposure to animals. Apparently, some animals contain a lot of the gut microbes called oscillospira and ruminococcous, which are good to be exposed to as they lower chances of developing asthma, allergies and even obesity if around human beings.

Animals that roam about outside, especially, and then come back to interact with their human owners carry back more germs with them and enable kids to improve their gut immunity.

10. Gives Them a Friend

This is almost a given but once you bring a pet into your home, you bet that animal will become a lifelong friend for your child. They’ll be there when your kiddos wakes up, throughout the adventures of a day, and when they go to sleep.

Even more importantly, having an animal that requires to be outside, like a dog, will open up new social avenues for the entire family. Each time you go on a walk, or to the dog park, for example, you are bound to leave with another friend made as you connect over your dog ownership.

9. Lessens Anxiety

An animal helps you feel more supported and protected – especially if it’s an animal who is strongly attached to you and is genuinely excited to see you whenever you appear. Dogs, especially, are very attuned to human behavior and emotions and can pick up on your child having a bad day like no other.

If your son or daughter ends up feeling overwhelmed, in any type of situation, sometimes the simplest thing that will help them calm down is a good snuggle from their pup.

8. Keeps Them Occupied

When they’re newborns they latch onto you, when they’re toddlers you need to watch them like a hawk, and when they become old kids they seem to constantly harass, I mean, seek you out for something or other.

When you bring home a pet for them, though, that need for constantly getting attention from you as their parent may wane and you’ll finally find yourself having, at least, 5 minutes of uninterrupted bliss to carry out whatever you need to.

7. Provides Better Immunity, In General

Not only can they lower your stress and cortisone levels, but pets have the uncanny ability it seems to improve our physical health, too. It’s believed, through some studies that exist, that pet dander or bacteria, may prime a child’s immune system to be more tolerant of certain strains of bacteria the earlier they are exposed to them.

In addition, some say the body learns quicker how to fend off common bugs and allergens if they surround themselves by animals, who introduce certain microbes to children.

6. Promotes Self Esteem

Boosting self esteem in children is vital so they can be confident in the decisions they make, be bold in understanding trial and error are part of the learning process, and know they can literally accomplish anything they put their mind to by being respectful and bold.

Trying to understand it in the simplest way – think about how often a pet will walk around and a child will trail after them. Pets and kids explore undiscovered terrain together, let down their guard and open up to the possibility of teamwork with a pet in the home.

5. Helps With Cognitive Development for Kids With Autistic Spectrum Disorders

The idea that animals, especially dogs, are good companions for kids of all ages who are autistic or have other developmental setbacks, comes from the fact that they do provide unconditional affection and support when humans may lack in that department due to so many different things. They also help a child feel lesser alone.

If you have a child who you feel needs a bit more attention, you can always find an autism service dog to bring home. These animals are trained to pick up on the needs of a child and will allow you step away from your child, once in a while, knowing they’re in good hands – I mean, paws.

4. Introduces Them To One of Their First Long-Term Relationships

Even if you’re only open to getting a hamster for your child, that little thing will still live long enough (if you try to avoid leaving the toilet cover seat open) for your child to get a feeling for their first long-term friendship.

So many of us develop deep connections with our furry friends that there’s an entire field of study dedicated to their emotional effect on us as humans and just what happens when we nurture and take in animals – it’s called anthrozoology.

3. Provides Comfort During Hard Times

From an early age, our lives start to revolve around routine and schedules and sometimes we are too busy to tune into the needs of a child who is learning the ups and downs of managing their emotions. Whether we intend to or not, there will be times we zone out of our child’s emotional needs.

Having a pet in the home allows your kid to feel like there is always someone to provide them with affection, even when the most conscious of parents cannot peel themselves away from other engagements. Many times it’s hard for a kid to communicate what they want to their parents, so having a pet that will openly listen when spoken to is also beneficial.

2. Introduces Them To Social Reform If Adopting A Pet

Adopting a pet from a local shelter is another way to educate your child about compassion and the need to act on it. It’s also an ideal opportunity to give back to the community and introduce the concept of charity work and karmic energy to your little ones.

Taking care of a fragile pet may seem like more work than typical and a little different than bringing home an energetic and mostly happy pet who may not come from a history of positive care. But adopting a dog or cat that does need a bit of reform gives your child the ability to see what an impact love can have.

1. Shows Them What Unconditional Love Is

People, even the ones we rely on all of our life, may disappoint us due to human flaw at some point or another. But an animal, that doesn’t get up on the petty things we do, will always accept you the way that you are.

A child who is bombarded with guidelines, rules, and is always wanting to appease adults may lose their will to be creative and speak without a filter – and personally I believe that is so required of the future generation to make necessary social changes happen. When a child is around a pet, they can fully be themselves and tap into any idea they want, with no fear of judgement.