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Why having a pet can be very beneficial for your baby


Having a pet at home can be more beneficial than you imagine for children.

The arrival of a baby at home is a revolution in every way. A sweet chaos that affects all the members of the family, including the pets that, in addition, will be a key element for the development of the baby, at the same time that the little one will also provide them with many advantages. And it is that, there is more and more scientific evidence that indicates the immunological benefits of babies raised with animals , and how that benefit begins from the womb of the mother.

The hypotheses of these studies reflect how exposure to the pregnant mother’s pet reduces the chances of streptococcal transmission during childbirth, that is, of a possible cause of pneumonia in The newborns.

They also influence immune development in such a way that it protects against the predisposition to have allergic reactions. And in relation to the coexistence of the pet with the baby, studies speak of an increase in bacteria related to the reduction, not only of allergies , but also of obesity , and of a lower risk of these children suffering from asthma more ahead.

The benefits that animals bring to the health of people is not something new, since, for decades, there have been guide dogs, companion pets for the elderly or mental , physical problems… And it is also worth noting that recent Studies have shown that having a dog can reduce the possibility of suffering a premature death by up to 24% .

It is not surprising because for many people these animals become a source of comfort against, for example, mental health illnesses and support, due to the consequent psychological benefits.

To find out what it is that having a pet during childhood contributes , the expert lists some of the benefits, both physically and emotionally, based on different investigations:

  • A stronger immune system : “We have already talked about how it reduces the presence of allergies and asthma.”
  • They increase physical activity : “It has been shown that children who live with a pet have more hours of weekly physical activity, both in their own home and outside it. This benefits both sedentary children and active children, who get to burn extra energy. We must take advantage if our pet needs to walk to encourage outdoor activities.
  • They reduce stress : “Relating to a pet reduces the cortisol hormone and increases the release of dopamine and oxytocin.”
  • They help to work on  emotional intelligence : “For example, we can teach children to think about how their pet feels if it does not receive the necessary care and attention. With this we will be able to improve their social skills and promote empathy”.
  • Improves reading : “A child who is learning to read sometimes feels more confident reading with his pet than with his parents. With the animal it becomes a game and not an obligation. Reading to your pet allows them to relax, boosts their confidence, and helps them improve their skills.”
  • They increase self- esteem and a sense of independence : “Teaching and allowing a child to take care of the pet favors his sense of autonomy and increases his self-confidence.”
  • They teach responsibility : “Children who learn to take care of their pet, learn to have obligations and maintain a commitment to it. Sometimes it is easier for them to learn to be responsible with their pet than with their own self-care actions”.
  • They learn the cycle of life : “Although the death of a pet is not pleasant for anyone, they learn the stages of life.”
  • They reduce loneliness: “Pets offer company and friendship. It can become a confidant for the child, since animals do not judge. They provide emotional support, improving separation anxiety and favoring a secure attachment.
  • They reduce aggressiveness : “Living with a pet forces the child to modify possible aggressive behaviors so as not to be reproduced by their pet.”

How to anticipate our pet at the arrival of the baby

Experts indicate that the most important thing is to anticipate the arrival of the baby and that the pet perceives that changes are coming . The animal’s routine must be adapted to the ‘new life’ if schedules for walks, meals or games are to be changed, and all this must be done during the pregnancy stage.

In the months of gestation we can resolve some pending things that we still have to do with the animal, such as updating it on its vaccinations, among other recommendations that the expert points out:

  • Keep the pet healthy . The vet will indicate the recommended frequency once you live with the baby.
  • Correct any behavior or conduct problems if any.
  • If it is a previously trained dog, we will review the learned behaviors with it to consolidate them. Otherwise, it is worth having a professional in dog training to guide and guide us in this regard.
  • In the case of pets such as a dog or a cat, if we are going to consider keeping it away from certain areas of the house , it is time to work on it to normalize it.
  • It is necessary to consider who will take care of the pet and if it is necessary to increase the participation of third parties, so that with the arrival of the baby it continues to keep its needs and attention covered.
  • In the case of the dog, we can get him used to walking with the baby stroller .
  • Help him differentiate his toys and those of the new member of the family.
  • It is very important that during the days that the mother and the newborn remain in the hospital, items of clothing used by the baby are presented  to the pet so that it becomes familiar and recognizes the smell.

How to introduce the baby to our pet

Carrying out a small presentation ritual will be essential so that the animal does not feel displaced, in the background, and even ‘dethroned’ by the arrival of the new family member. To do this, the expert in dog training recommends us to carry out a series of guidelines and take into account some warnings, for the first days and months of the baby at home :

  • Greeting the pet affectionately as soon as it arrives : “The presentation must be very gradual and with a space that provides us with security. Teach her how to approach the baby correctly and allow her to do her research regarding the new family member. Reward the pet for its good behavior.
  • In the case of the dog, “if possible, it would be ideal to be able to take a family walk so that they associate the arrival of the baby with a pleasant activity.”
  • You must always use positive training techniques : “This is rewarding each correct behavior. We should not yell or get angry with the animal for approaching the baby the wrong way, but rather teach it the correct way and reward that behavior. We must get him to associate it with something good and positive and never the opposite”.
  • We must make sure that if our pet needs activity, it continues to have it , “anxious or bored animals can end up adding more work at home with their pranks.”
  • We can make use of a Kong , “if we need the pet to be entertained for a while.”
  • And of course: ” We will never leave the baby alone with the pet no matter how much trust we have in it.”

For harmony to reign in the family and for everything to go well with the arrival of the baby, both in the present and in the future, “it is essential to teach our son from a very young age how to treat and interact with his pet,”. We know that a child playing can be abrupt and not control his strength or his eagerness to want to share moments with the animal, which can lead to an unexpected response from the pet..

For this reason, they must always be supervised by an adult and: “It doesn’t hurt, in the case of the dog, for example, to work on possible jolts, pushes or pulls that may come when the child begins to interact with him. To do this, we can use rewards to associate these gestures with something non-negative and thus avoid a defense response from the animal”.

It will be when the child grows up and begins to control his actions and thoughts when we can instill in him the care of the pet , even giving him some responsibilities that are easy for the child to fulfill and with which both the child and the animal feel comfortable.


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