How Having A Pet Could Make Your Child Healthier

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Animal lovers know all too well that having a pet in the family offers a number of potential benefits for children.

It can teach them about responsibility. Having a pet can help kids learn kindness toward and compassionate for all animals. Therapy pets can help reduce anxiety. Service animals can even help kids with severe disabilities perform everyday tasks. And in the end, losing a pet can teach children tough life lessons.

But did you know that having a pet could actually improve kids’ health?

According to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics, children who had a dog in their first year of life were 13-percent less likely to have asthma by age 6 than children who were raised on dog-free homes. Data for the study was based on 1 million children in a Swedish registry. It also found that kids who grew up on farms with animals showed a 50-percent reduction in their risk for asthma by school age.

Of course, this is only an association and not a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Still, it’s yet another potential perk of including animals in your daily life.

If you’re considering adopting an animal into your family, take a look at some of the best choices when it comes to children. According to Healthline, here are the top pets for kids:

  1. Fish. Skip the goldfish, though, and opt for the low-maintenance Siamese fighting fish (also known as a Beta.) These beautiful fish thrive in small amounts of stagnant water, meaning no heaters, filters, aerators or chemicals needed.
  2. Reptiles. These cold-blooded animals aren’t exactly cuddly, but they can make excellent pets. Certain tortoises can live exceptionally long and some types of snakes also make good pets. (Reptiles are also non-allergenic!) If you have young children, beware: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does warn against reptiles because they can easily transmit salmonella.
  3. Birds. Feathered friends are potentially great pets, too, although they require more care than fish or reptiles. Depending on the type of bird, they can be very social or intelligent and require daily attention.
  4. Rodents. Hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils and even rats are pretty easy to raise. They do well in a small living space and require simple care. While gentle handling will promote friendliness, there is still a risk for bites if the rodent feels threatened.

Surprisingly, cats and dogs came in at numbers five and six, respectively. Click here to check out Healthline’s list in its entirety.

Adopting a pet is a huge responsibility and not a decision that should be taken lightly. But the wealth of benefits — both socially and health-wise — can be more than worth it for the memories of love and companionship that are sure to follow.

Share your thoughts! What do you think about the health benefits of having a pet? What type of animal do you think is best for kids?


  1. Ruth Hanessian

    April 26, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks for the nice list but while I agree with all your choices, in our cold homes in the winter, a Beta does need some type of supplemental heat. Then they are good for 3 or more years. Goldfish do not need extra heat, indeed they can overwinter outdoors

  2. Kimberly Tucker

    July 31, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    Garrett Tucker

  3. Clanro Kids World

    July 31, 2016 at 6:39 pm


  4. Cyrine Mari Madrona

    July 31, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    Andrea Vargas

  5. Andrea Vargas

    July 31, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Maria Ruelas

  6. Breanna Connor

    July 31, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Joshua Conrad Connor

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