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The Benefits Of Growing Up With Pets


A pet can be more than a warm, furry or feathered friend that greets you when you return home. Growing up with pets can be good for a child's health and development.
Research has shown that interacting with pets can contribute to a child's self-esteem and self-confidence. A positive relationship with a pet can help a child learn about responsibility and develop compassion. Children who own pets tend to have more empathy, be more cooperative and be more likely to share. Most children view pets as special friends and may unburden secrets and cares to pets by talking to them.

Pet ownership has been associated with better grades in school, while interacting with pets may help children develop better social skills, which are also valuable at school. A recent study at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Wash., found that children who helped care for a puppy in preschool were more popular and better able to understand other students' feelings. All in all, experts find that owning a pet can help a child develop in several positive and meaningful ways.

There are some not-so-positive aspects to growing up with pets, but parents can take a few easy steps to prevent and minimize these consequences.

• First, choose a pet that is right for your family, your home and your lifestyle. Before making a commitment, ask yourself how hard the pet is to care for. How aggressive is the pet? If you have small children, is the pet used to the roughhousing small children engage in?
• Make sure your kids are not playing too rough with or abusing the pet. While very young children may not know when behavior is too rough, children should not be allowed to harm animals.
• There are five key parasites that pose a threat to your dog's health and some of them can transmit disease from pets to children. They are heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and fleas.

However, with effective parasite preventives, good hygiene and common sense, you can keep your pets and your family safe and healthy. Ask your veterinarian about a convenient monthly oral treatment that targets flea eggs and larvae, and controls common intestinal parasites as well. For more information, visit www.growingupwithpets.com.

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New FeatureRelated Articles: Pregnancy, Babies and Your Pets, Infections That Pets Carry,

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