Google+ Authentic Parenting: The Health Benefits of Having Pets

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Health Benefits of Having Pets

Welcome to the July edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Pets and children.
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. This month our participants are sharing their thoughts and experiences with pets and children! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


In this carnival, the sheer fun of having a pet shines through the posts. But having a pet is not only a fun or even an educational experience, it is even beneficial to your child's health. In this post, I will explain exactly how having a pet boosts your health.

It all comes down to the immune system, and pets are a definite boost here.

Image: Daryn Barry on Flickr
The dirtier the better
In todays germicide bactericide uber clean homes, there is little room for dirt. This tendency towards squeaky clean causes us to underuse our immune system (and stressing our immune system due to the toxins ion the cleaners, but that's another issue altogether), overreacting on the tiniest invasion.
Pets can help us in this department, as they tend to leave things less clean than you intended. Your pet's constant wandering between the outdoors and your home brings in dirt, bacteria and lots of germs. Your child being in continuous exposure to these small quantities of germs gets an immune system boost and will ultimately be better equipped when flus and colds are turning your block.

Being exposed to a variety of animal life reduces your child's chances of developing allergies later in life.
Sound contradictory? It isn't. An allergy is a reaction of your body on an otherwise not harmful substance just because they don't recognize it. So if you want to avoid allergies: exposure, exposure!! And the earlier the better. (It may be smart to even start this during pregnancy).
Even children with allergies benefit from having pets, as all healing therapy for allergies involve the gradual reintroduction of the allergen.

Mental Health
To everyone who had a pet growing up, it's pretty obvious that having a pawed friend is wonderful for your mental state. A pet is often a child's closest friend and confidant.
In fact, pets reduce stress, lower blood pressure levels, and decrease loneliness.

Exercise and fresh air
Having a pet can be a great invitation for your child to spend more time outdoors: playing, walking, roughhousing. Your child is outside and exercising, something we can only applaud in our largely sedentary Western World.

If you have pets in your house, what is the biggest health influence you have noticed on your kids?
APBC - Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic ParentingVisit The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • A Pet's Role in the Home School — If a house isn't a home without a pet, how can you imagine homeschooling without one? Erica at ChildOrganics discusses the many benefits of home schooling with pets. .
  • Toddlers and Whiskers, Co-existing as One — Mama Duck at Quacks and Waddles explains how to introduce new pets to toddlers and babies
  • Children and the Death of a Pet — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama offers suggestions on how to help children work through the loss of a pet. She includes a variety of books to support both parents and children during this tender time.
  • 10 Reasons to Be a Foster Family for a Pet in Need — Christy from Adventures in Mommyhood: Mommy Outnumbered gives her top 10 reasons to consider fostering a pet until a forever home can be found.
  • Preparing Dogs for New Baby — Jennifer from Mother of the Pack gives advice to new parents for preparing their dog(s) for a baby
  • Children, Pets and Death — Lauren at Hobo Mama has walked with her son through the untimely death of their cat, a fascinating and troubling journey.
  • The Health Benefits of Having Pets — Laura from Authentic Parenting tells us exactly why having pets is beneficial to your child's health.
  • Romeo, My Healing Dog — Bianca at the Pierogie Mama writes about her loveable old dog, Romeo, who at one point she had to give away but a few years later he was placed back in her life when she least expected it.
  • 6 Tips to Help a Child That is Afraid of Dogs - Ariadne at Positive Parenting Connection is sharing helpful tips and using play to help children overcome a fear of dogs.
  • The Value of Pets - Caroline from Stone Age Parenting writes about how pets have brought so much more than happiness to her life and how she has learned to appreciate and respond to the needs of animals and of humans.



  1. I don't understand... I wrote a post for the carnival and emailed you like always but didn't hear anything back. Are my emails going to your spam or something?

    1. I don't understand. You're un my address book so your mails shouldn't be redirected. I'm turning my mailbox inside out but can't seem to find anything. Did you get a reply from Ari? It's strange that both of us wouldn't have seen your mail. Did you get a delivery error message?

    2. No I didn't get a response from anyone. And no delivery failure message. Weird. But then I am having some issues with hotmail. Nevermind.

  2. I love having the health benefits explained so nicely. Makes me feel like I'm doing something good for my family just by letting the dog in the house...and his germs and bacteria... ;-)


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