It’s official – pets are good for kids! – Mail Online

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Growing up with a pet can bring social, emotional and educational benefit to children and adolescents according to a newly published study from The University of Liverpool Study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.  Youngsters with pets tend to have greater self-esteem, less loneliness and enhanced social skills. This research adds strength to claims that household pets can help support healthy child development. 

“Anyone that has grown up with, and loved a family pet intrinsically feels the value of their companionship,” says Dr Carri Westgarth, project leader. “The scientific evidence investigating the benefits to children and adolescent development looks promising. We dug deep into that evidence to understand which potential benefits were most strongly supported. Ultimately, this will enable us to know more about how pets provide young people with emotional, educational and social support.”

“Critical ages for the impact of pet ownership on self-esteem, appear to be greatest for children under 6, and preadolescents and adolescents over 10. Generally dogs and cats are deemed to be the best providers of social support, perhaps due to a higher level of interaction and reciprocation in comparison to other pets,” says Rebecca Purewal, lead author. “In both western and non-western cultures, pets may act as a form of psychological support, helping youths feel good about themselves and enabling a positive self-image.”

I know how much joy Minnie gets from animals so this makes perfect sense to me. and Monty still claims to miss our cat Keith, who passed away when he was two! In fact, ‘cat!’ was his first word (see video below). We didn’t get a new cat but we are now walking a dog called Bramble (top, with Minnie) whose poor owner broke her leg skiing – we hooked up with her through and Minnie is loving every minute!

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