Health Parenting

Stress in children – household pets can help

stress in children
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

It’s official, household pets relieve stress.

Animals are known for supporting vulnerable people, from guide dogs to medical detection dogs. But it’s not just people with life-threatening health conditions and sight problems that can benefit from owning a pet. Kids suffering from stress can too.

Research has shown that 80% of children show signs of anxiety, and 60% show signs of depression. Although there are lots of factors that cause children to be stressed, research suggests that having a household pet can reduce levels of anxiety. Apparently, in 10 years, there has been an increase of 296% in the amount of times, we as a nation, have googled “how to relax”. The Centre of Agriculture and Biosciences International revealed pet ownership could save the NHS £2.45billion a year. It could also reduce the number of visitors to a doctor.

AXA PPP Healthcare’s research highlighted the importance to take time to relax and deal with life’s setbacks. It stated that 56% of Brits said that taking ‘me time’ helps them deal with life’s setbacks. They also found that simply being around animals can have huge health benefits on children, and young adults. The Mental Health Foundation reported that stroking, sitting next to and playing with pets helps relax the mind. This in term gives pet owners time to relax, which helps improve their mood and overall health.

stress in children

So here is an FQ guide to why your kids need a stress-free life with pets.

They love you, and I mean love you. No matter how bad your day has been, your pet will shower you with affection. The emotional bond between a pet and its owner can be as intense as that of two humans. So kids will love being able to cuddle them and get the love back.

Owning a pet gives your kids a purpose. You can get them to help you with feeding it and taking the dog for a walk. This way they not only have less stress but they also learn responsibility.

Pets are considered a social icebreaker. So if your child struggles with making friends, a pet might be just the trick to help them get used to talking to other children.

And if that’s not enough, pet owners are less likely to suffer with depression. Playing with a cat or a dog can elevate serotonin and dopamine in the brain, so you and your child can de-stress.

But don’t worry about the pet hair, that’s easily fixable.