The UK is well known as a nation of pet lovers, and that goes far beyond just having a cat or dog around the house.
There are many different types of exotic pets such as snakes and reptiles, and of course, more traditional smaller examples such as mice or hamsters can also be a great choice. However, no matter what size, shape, colour or species you choose, any household with children will see a wide range of benefits from having a pet.
While there can be many reasons for choosing a pet that lives in a cage or tank, there is no getting away from the fact that the majority of British pets still fall into two categories – canine and feline.
Cats and dogs usually have the run of the family home and can play a big part in the life of children as they are growing up. Not only can a child bond with a pet in a way that helps give mental and emotional stimulation, learning to care for another living being can play a vital role in character development.
There are many health benefits for pet owners of all ages. Stroking a dog or cat has been proven to reduce blood pressure levels, and of course simply taking a dog for a walk can lead to increased fitness for owners.
Higher levels of physical activity such as playing with your dog in the park can be even more beneficial and can be an especially important factor in light of current concerns about the levels of obesity in children.
Other benefits for kids who come into regular contact with pets include the development of a more stable immune system, with the strongest effects being found to occur between the ages of five and eight. Hay fever, asthma and general animal allergies are also less likely to occur in children who are exposed to pets during their first year of life.
Caring for a pet on a day-to-day basis can help a child develop empathy and social skills, but as a parent, there are greater responsibilities to shoulder. Most pets will need to visit a vet occasionally, so having the right insurance plan is essential, as is making sure routine needs are taken care of by using the best pet health products. You can find out much more about all of these issues on Bob Martin Vetcare’s new website, which will provide a multitude of information, advice and products that all pet owners can explore.
Real life issues
Of course, one of the saddest but most important things a child can learn from having a pet is that life has some unpleasant certainties that cannot be avoided. Although if looked after properly a cat or dog can live for well over ten years, and some other pets even longer, their shorter life spans mean that at some point exposure to bereavement is inevitable.
Most pets are treated as one of the family and when they pass on it can be an extremely emotional time. However, it can also be a valuable lesson for a child to learn that life is precious and we should always treasure the time we have with loved ones, family and friends.