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How Family Pets Affect Child Development [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 08, 2017 08:30 PM EST

Family pets can boost child development according to a new research. Children and adolescents with pets tend to have greater self-esteem and enhanced social skills.

A new study conducted by a group of researchers from the University of Liverpool supports the previous claim that family pets can support healthy child development. According to Dr. Carri Westgarth, project lead from Institute of Infection and Global Health, anyone that has grown up with and loved a family pet will feel the value of companionship.

Westgarth further claims that the scientific evidence that investigates the benefits of family pets in child development looks promising. Soon, researchers may know more how pets exactly provide the young people educational, emotional and social support.

Rebecca Purewal, the lead author of the study, said that the critical ages for the impact of family pets on child development are less than six years old for children, and over 10 years old for preadolescents and adolescents. Cats and dogs are the best providers of social support. These pets have a higher level of interaction and reciprocation compared to other family pets.

Training a dog teaches kids valuable lessons about patients, discipline and empathy. However, aside from the impact on child development, owning family pets can build up the kids' natural immunities. Children will be less likely to develop certain allergies and even respiratory conditions like asthma according to a report by Inside Halton. Family pets can also provide healthy child development and companionship to children with emotional and learning disabilities.

The study on family pets affecting child development is published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. It is funded by WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition. According to Nancy Gee, co-author of the study and WALTHAM researcher, there is still so much to learn about the processes of family pets having a healthy impact on child development.

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