Babies and Pets Don’t Throw The Dog Out With The Baby’s Bath Water
One of the top reasons animals end up in shelters is because of a growing family, as some people are overwhelmed juggling a new addition and their furry friends. However, studies show they are beneficial to the family
One of the top reasons dogs and cats end up in shelters is because of the addition of a new baby. In the world of animal rescue, they hear it all too often, “now that we have a new baby, we do not have time for this dog or cat.”
Besides being overwhelmed by the new responsibilities people fear that animals will make the child sick or be the cause of allergies, but in fact having pets in the home will help build the child’s immune system. Having pets is also linked with a lower risk of allergies amongst babies that are exposed to pet dander and the microbes that pets will carry into the home by building up their developing immune system and training their bodies to fend off allergies and bacteria.
The Journal of Pediatrics published a study showing that pets make people healthier, “Babies who are in close contact with dogs or cats during their first twelve months of life were found to enjoy better health and were less likely to suffer from respiratory infections, compared to those without any pets in the house or no close contact with these animals.”
Besides the health benefits of having a pet in the home, there are many other advantages for kids with pets. Raising a pet gives a child daily responsibilities and commitment, which in turn gives them confidence. The unconditional love of a pet teaches a child about compassion for other living beings, acceptance, friendship and non-verbal communication. Of course having a dog will help a child be more active and benefit from outdoor activities and play, making them more social.
Children that have a difficult time relating to other humans may have a bond with a pet and improve their interaction skills. LiveScience. com reports that children with autism who have a trained pet in the home have dramatically reduced stress hormones and a significant drop in behavioral problems. There has also been successful work with children suffering from PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), using pets as well with other children’s disabilities.
Pets also provide lessons about life: reproduction, birth, illnesses, accidents, death and bereavement.
Although dogs are dedicated and loyal babysitters their interactions with babies and small children should always be supervised, dogs are incredibly patient, but sometimes they can react to a poke in the eye or a pulled tail. Companion animals are a lifelong commitment and an important part of the family.
If you would like tips about introducing your pet to your new baby check out this ASPCA website:
Babies who are in close contact with dogs or cats during their first twelve months of life were found to enjoy better health and were less likely to suffer from respiratory infections, compared to those without any pets in the house or no close contact with these animals.”
Journal of Pediatrics
Pets are instrumental to the healthy development of children /
Photo: Leesia Teh Photography