girl with her dog
Two friends, child with Labrador retriever dog sitting in sunny summer park near water

New study finds that pets promote social skills and self-esteem in children

University of Liverpool study shows that kids 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.

Researchers did in-depth review and quality evaluation of studies investigating the effects of pet ownership on emotional, educational or behavioural development in children and adolescents.

“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 University of Liverpool Study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health was funded by the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, part of Mars Petcare .

Benefits for Kids

“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.”

See study here: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/14/3/234

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