It’s no secret that raising children can be one of the toughest jobs parents can take on, so we don’t blame you if you’re not too excited about having one more (furry) child fight for your care and attention as well.

However, before you dismiss the idea, here’s a fun fact: Owning pets and having them accompany your children in their growing years has been proven to greatly benefit their health and wellbeing!

Here’s how:

Making Friends
Having a pet provides a valuable means for social interaction. This means that with Fido in tow, people are more likely to visit or talk to you and your family in public. With increased opportunities to interact with others, your children’s social skills will improve.

Study Buddies
Pets can help your children with their school work – and we don’t mean that it’s because they can be a handy excuse for those days when Junior didn’t do his work! Parents have noticed a boost in their children’s academic grades with the aid of animal companionship, believing that it helps improve their children’s focus and concentration skills.

Nurturing Responsibility
According to The Pet Report, four out of five parents believe that the presence of a pet at home has a positive impact on their children's development, making them more responsible and thus improving their behaviour. Don’t be surprised when see your children take charge and care for their furry BFFs!

Medical Benefits
Did you know that children who grow up with dogs generally have a lower risk of asthma and allergies? This is according to a study from Uppsala University in Sweden, and goes against the common worry that having fur around the house could increase the risk of their children developing respiratory issues and conditions. Of course, those with established allergies to cats or dogs are the exceptions.

Psychological Health
Watching animal videos can put smiles on our faces—but the only way to prolong that happiness is by actually owning a pet! Being a paw-rent greatly reduces the likelihood of the development of childhood anxiety (especially social and separation anxiety).

*This article was updated on 14 June 2021.. It first appeared in on 30 Nov 2015.