The Benefits of Pets for Children: Win All-Natural Pet Products!

Last spring, my family had to cope with the loss of our 13-year-old mutt, Zooey. We toyed with the notion of another dog, but ultimately decided we weren’t ready yet. Earlier today, however, I came across this startling statistic from the Humane Society of the United States:

“The HSUS estimates that animal shelters care for between 6–8 million dogs and cats every year in the United States, of whom approximately 3–4 million are euthanized.”

Those numbers are likely to increase this year in response to home foreclosures and other economic woes, as more animals are turned over to shelters by owners who can no longer afford to care for them. In my area, shelters have been offering special days when adoption fees are waived; also, they have been asking the public for donations of pet food and supplies. Not just for the overcrowded shelters, but for pet owners who are in need of the help.

I can’t chase this thought out of my head, of all those dogs and cats in need of homes. But if the truth is to be told, I know that the real reason that I want another dog is because it completes my mental image of home, of family.

And in a completely objective, entirely unbiased sort of way, I’m mulling over all the benefits- physical, mental, and emotional- that this potential family addition would have for my children.

There are numerous benefits that pets provide for kids:

• Children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma.
• Playing with dogs may help lower blood pressure.
• Kids with pets get outside more- to go for walks, run, and play- and enjoy all the associated health benefits.
• Pet owners require fewer doctor’s visits.
• Emerging readers often feel more comfortable reading aloud to a pet.
• Nurturing a pet is an acceptable way for boys to “parent play”; to practice being caregivers.
• Feeding and caring for a pet encourages childhood responsibility.
• Children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem.
• Sharing the love and care of a family pet forges an additional common bond among siblings.
• Pets offer security and stability. Nearly 70% of children confide in their pets, confident their secrets will not be betrayed.
• Cuddling a pet reduces stress, loneliness, and anxiety.
• And pets provide a natural gateway into the animal kingdom- love for one’s pet as a child often translates into an adult belief that the relationship between humans and animals is one of mutual support.

I’m not quite committed yet to the responsibility of a new dog. I’m not crazy about having to go through training a dog again, or being on poop patrol. Maybe to begin, we can be a foster family for a dog or aid homeless pets in some other way. But more and more I find myself thinking- kids and dogs, they belong together, right?

What do you think? Talk me into it or talk me out of it!


The good folks at TerraCycle are committed to our planet and the safety of our pets and have donated THREE PRIZE PACKS full of all-natural pet products. The combination of reused packaging (old soda bottles!) and non–toxic products makes the TerraCycle line, made from essential oils, probiotics and earth–friendly microbes, one of the most reliable and responsible ways to care for pets at home. Each prize will contain:

• Natural Stain and Odor Remover
• Natural Dig Stop
• Skunk Odor Remover
• Natural Stool Destroyer
• Trash Can Protector

Leave a comment and be entered to win! The winners will be announced June 5. Good Luck!

Green Options Media is a network of environmentally-focused blogs providing users with the information needed to make sustainable choices. Written by experienced professionals, Green Options Media’s blogs engage visitors with authoritative content, compelling discussions, and actionable advice. We invite anyone with questions, or simply curiosity, to add their voices to the community, and share their approaches to achieving abundance.

By Robin Elton, Eco Child's Play


Murat K.
Past Member 6 years ago

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Saroey E.
Ra S7 years ago

This is cool:D

Jane L7 years ago

Thanks for this post.

Jennifer E.
Jennifer E8 years ago

Pets, well, at least dogs, teach us how to love and care for another life. Think of all the times (there will be) when we don't consistently show the finer human qualities toward our children and even our spouse. That dog, almost always, provides comfort, warmth, assurance, gratitude, fun, loyalty and takes away the loneliness we all feel from time to time. Pets also teach responsibility and discipline and help eradicate morbid shyness and fear. Kids will be braver for their beloved friend who needs them. Plus, depending on the dog, they're safer outside the house!

gerlinde p.
gerlinde p8 years ago

pets are a great are a grea addition to families.wouldn`t want to have missed any of our pets.

Brittany M.
Brittany Moeller8 years ago

this is amazing. pets really do help children & if a good family would just go & adopt rather than breed we could save so many animals. I am the proud owner of an adopted dalmation & we love her to death. Couldn't have asked for a better dog.

Dorothy F.
Dorothy F8 years ago

I believe all that you children, except for my daughter have dogs/cats. We were raised with every kind of animal. This is a very committed act...if you aren't 100% sure, then don't. Love the animals around you, help the shelters if you can. There are many ways...protesting certain restaurants, doing without a circus and explaining to your child why. Keep it up all of you. Thank you as well.