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There’s No Better Time To Get A New Pet

By Dr Katrina Warren on January 3, 2012 in Other

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Once the craziness of Christmas has settled down, the summer holiday period is an ideal time to welcome a new pet into your family. The longer daylight hours make it easier to train and socialise a puppy and there is always an abundance of kittens available during the warmer months.

Pets are also wonderful for children, and if you need convincing here are some of the many benefits they offer:

Pets teach responsibility – Children learn responsibility by helping with the caretaking of a pet. They learn about the requirements of a living being such as food, water and exercise. Fish are a great first pet because it is easy to give children an active role in feeding them.

Pets are a friend to children – Children turn to their pets when they need a friend, confidante or protector. Pets do not judge children or get angry at them, which can help with self esteem. Children often trust their pets with their secrets and private thoughts.

Pets aid childhood development – Pets help children develop nurturing and social skills. Developing positive feelings about pets can aid self-esteem and help children develop non-verbal communication and compassion.

Pets teach life lessons – Pets are often the first experience a child has with death and grieving. Pets also help kids to learn about health and illness and visits to the veterinarian reinforce that pets need good healthcare too.

Pets are fun – Pets provide unconditional love, affection and comfort. Children can participate in safe games with their pets and those who participate in walking/exercising the family dog have the added benefit of extra physical activity.

Pets encourage children to exercise – Physical activity in children results in social, mental and physical health benefits. Owning a dog may encourage children to exercise.

Pets may help to reduce allergies and asthma – western cultures are reporting increasing rates of asthma and allergic disease, with pets often implicated as a causal factor. An interesting development in research in recent years, however, has demonstrated the opposite may in fact be the case: the presence of cats and dogs in the home from an early age may actually ‘acclimatise’ the developing immune system so that it is less sensitive to allergens in later life.

If you have a pet crazy kid here is a great initiative for the school holidays. Future Vet Kids Camp is running from January 9 at Centennial Parklands. The camp will offer children the opportunity to learn about all aspects of pet care and discover the profession of veterinary medicine as well as encouraging them to love and appreciate animals of all kinds. Activities are interactive and hands on with lots of animal contact.

I’m looking forward to doing dog training and trick demonstrations for the children each Friday at the camp.
For more information about the camp go to www.futurevetkidscamp.com.

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