Other than being completely instagrammable, funny, and loving creatures here are four more reasons to appreciate your pet this week.
- Pet dander may actually improve your immune system. Sid Kirchheimer, in Early Exposure Found to Reduce Later Risk in Children, indicates that despite the long-held belief that cats and dogs in the home could lead to childhood allergies, there's mounting evidence that the opposite may be true. Thomas Platts-Mills, MD, Ph.D., found that children growing up in homes with pets had less frequency of allergies to pets. The decreased frequency was most marked when the child was frequently exposed during the first two years of life.
- Pets can reduce stress. Children reading to their parents, teacher or an adult typically experience an increase in their stress levels. Those same children experience a decrease in overall stress or anxiety levels when reading to a pet. "Curling up with a dog or cat, on the other hand, is a lot more appealing," suggests Mary Renck Jalongo, author of The World of Children and Their Companion Animals.
- Pets in homes provide comfort to ailing hearts. The hurts may be from a recent death, illness, or related to age. Animals, by their presence, increase advantageous hormone production that can help in healing. Multiple pets in a home can also bring comfort to each other during a time of loss. Children and parents frequently refer to their pets as family members and treat them as members of the family.
- Pets can teach nurturing and caregiving abilities. Children are able to learn how to nurture and care for animals early in their lives. These habits can help them as they transition throughout their lives in relationships and social circles. Being around animals can teach kids how to help others in need.
So be sure to give your fur-kid some extra love this week for all that they do for us.