Pets boost kids self-esteem, immunity

11 year old daughter Asta with her cats Tigger & Kirra

Pets are cute, often cuddly and make great companions.

Nearly two-thirds of Australian households have one or more pets, so it’s no secret they can be a fabulous addition to the family.

However, you may be surprised at some of the profound ways a pet can improve a child’s life.

Studies have shown children with pets have higher self-esteem, better immune systems and are even more popular.

Provided you follow a few simple rules, a pet can be one of the best friends your child will ever have.

RSPCA veterinarian Dr Bronwyn Orr says research shows that pet ownership can deliver a raft of benefits.

People with animals, she says, tend to have better cardiovascular health, increased social connectedness and less depression.

“For kids, research has shown they have higher self-esteem,” she says.

“There’s (also) a research report saying kids who have a good bond with their pets tend to have good bonds with parents and friends.”

Parents also needn’t worry that owning a pet may cause allergies or illness in their children.

“Kids growing up with a dog or cat, or any other pet really, they have a stronger immune systems and it seems to reduce the risk of allergy,” Dr Orr says.

“There is research that show kids who grew up on farms have less sick days than kids who grew up in the city.”