National Kids & Pets Day, observed annually on 26 April, is a day for celebrating the special bond between children and pets. Founded in 2005 by Colleen Paige, a mother and pet lover herself, this important day serves to highlight the many ways in which pets enrich our families and our childhood. It is also a day for remembering safety and making sure that both your child and pet are safe around one another.
If we think back to our own childhood, some of the best memories often contain dog or cats. As well as being great friends, pets can teach children many life skills such as responsibility, loyalty and unconditional love. Feeding and caring for a pet will help children to start learning about responsibility, helping to build the foundations of love and respect for animals. It has been proven that children who are shown how to be compassionate towards pets are very likely to carry that compassion on into adulthood, in both their behaviour towards animals and people.
Pets are forgiving and love unconditionally, and this can help children through difficult times whilst growing up. It is fair to say that all children can benefit from the love of a dog, especially shy children or those with special needs. Dogs in particular are a constant companion and this can be comforting to children who feel like they do not have any friends in the world. It has even been claimed that children with learning disabilities can improve their skills by reading to an animal and that pets can help shyer children to increase their confidence.
Did you know that…?
Children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies
Playing with dogs may help lower blood pressure
Cuddling a pet reduces stress, loneliness and anxiety
Young children who play with dogs are less likely to be overweight or obese
Having a pet in the family can bring many added health benefits as children will be encouraged to spend more time outside and be more active. This can also help the family grow closer together as many activities such as walking the dog are often performed together. For further information on the health benefits of pet ownership, see https://canvethospital.com/2017/02/12/national-sports-day-the-perfect-occasion-for-exercising-with-your-pet/.
Therefore, why not mark this special day by dedicating additional time to family activities involving your pet? If you do not yet own a pet but are considering getting one, National Kids & Pets Day is the perfect occasion to encourage adopting a pet into your family (for an updated list of our adoption pets, see https://canvethospital.com/adopt-a-pet/). Not only will you be giving an animal in need a great home, you will also be enriching the lives of your children and your family as a whole.
The CVH Team