Pets are part of many children’s lives, and they typically tend to share a special bond. Raising kids around pets can benefit your child and your pet. According to a study, kids can benefit from getting attached to pets. A pet can improve a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development, mental health, well-being, and quality of life.

Although there are many benefits of raising kids around pets, taking the wrong steps can result in more harm, such as the child behaving violently towards the pet or the animal biting the child. The lack of knowledge and understanding on raising kids around pets can harm a child or the pet. So, parents need to understand the process of raising their kids around pets to help both entities stay safe and healthy.

Children playing with a dog.

Teach Kids About Animal Behavior

Your pets cannot speak to you, but some of them – such as cats and dogs – know how to communicate their feelings. Humans can learn an animal’s body language and respond accordingly. For instance, if your dog needs to go to the bathroom, it may go near the door and whine or bark, which signals that they need to go out. It’s important for you to pick up on the messages your pet may be trying to send and familiarize your kids with them.

It’s also important for children to learn about other animal behavior, such as when they want to play, cuddle, or be left alone. Is your dog wagging its tail and bringing its toy closer to play? Or is your cat away because they want some space? If your child doesn’t understand the pet’s needs, they may accidentally hurt the pet or upset them, resulting in unwanted negative behaviour from the pet.

Create a Pet Feeding Schedule

Delegating simple tasks, such as asking your child to clean and refill your pet’s water bowl, is a good start to helping them become responsible. When they are old enough to take on more responsibility, teach them how to feed their pets. When an animal relies on your child to be fed, it may offer your children an inherent understanding of responsibility and the value of following a schedule.

Feeding pets may also teach children the value of consuming healthy and balanced meals. When choosing food for your pets, educate your child about the ingredients and nutrients in the meal, and explain how the different ingredients might benefit your pet. For example, if you choose raw food for your pets, discuss how recipes from brands such as are full of meats and fresh vegetables made without added processes. When you explain the value of consuming food that is unproblematic to a pet’s digestive system, your child may suddenly start to understand why they must eat their vegetables for dinner!

Encourage Exercise Through Play

One of the many benefits of raising a child around pets is that it encourages your kids to be physically active. Regular physical activity can help children and adolescents improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones and muscles, control weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and more.

Consider investing in good-quality toys that allow your kids to play with their pets easily. This typically involves rope toys for tug of war or balls for fetch. You can also encourage your children to take your dogs on scheduled walks each day, as this is crucial for a dog’s health to prevent them from gaining excessive weight, getting depressed indoors, and developing other health conditions. Accompany your children on their walks as puppies tend to have high energy, and it can be challenging for your kids to handle them alone if the puppy isn’t leash trained.

The key to successfully raising kids around pets is educating your children about pet behaviors, teaching them valuable lessons about schedules, and encouraging playtime. Take your time to help your child and pet bond with one another and help them become best friends!