The Benefits of Pets

There are many benefits to exposing children to pets.  Many may believe that dogs and cats can pose a danger to children and, in some cases, this may be true, and there are measures that parents should take to insure that pets on a daycare premises are safe with children.

In general, pets can be very beneficial to a child’s development.  Pets have been known to aid the immune systems development, minimizing the chances of allergies developing later in life, as well as helping to develop empathy, social and communication skills.

Ofcourse, parents should be informed when choosing a daycare provider that owns a pet.  It is important to ask questions regarding health, immunization against rabies, and temperment.  Most importantly, parents should always take a tour of the daycare and meet all pets that will be on the premises to insure that they feel comfortable with their activity level and temperment in general.

Some pointers to keep in mind:

1) Cats can scratch and bite.  If there is a cat on the premises, note whether the cat tries to interact with the children in a positive way, or generally avoids contact.  If a child approaches the cat, note the cat’s response, look out for hissing, hair standing on end, or growling: these are all signs that the cat is getting ready to react aggressively.  If the cat lashes out by biting or scratching, you can expect that sort of behaviour in the future and may want to reconsider that particular daycare provider or request that the cat be separated from your child.

2) Dogs have the potential to do great damage to children.  I will not comment on particular breeds, as it is dicriminatory, but most parents will make those sorts of considerations themselves and act on their children’s best interest.  The Canadian Kennel Club can provide excellent guidelines regarding a breeds temperment in general, but this is only a starting point.  Do not be fooled by the dogs size, in fact, small dogs are often more insecure, and more aggressive as a result.  Although, generally, small dogs do less damage, it is still not acceptable for small dogs to nip or bark excessively at adults or children.  Some signs to watch out for are dogs that seem skiddish or nervous around adults and/or children.  Dogs that show teeth or growl are very close to biting and dogs that bark excessively are also potentially nervous and may be warning that they will bite. In my opinion, dogs that have the potential to bite children are a deal breaker when it comes to choosing a daycare provider, as serious damage can occur, most physically and psychologically.

There are no benefits that outweigh safety for our children, and parents must weigh the benefits against the risks when choosing a daycare provider.  In general, when the pets are safe, they are an excellent addition to the fun and enjoyment that children experience in daycare.  I own a dog and my kids love playing with her and talking to her, and I feel that she has only benefited my kids daycare experience.

Please don’t take my word for it.  Do your own research on the benefits versus the dangers of pets and children, there are many excellent articles on the internet to choose from.

Happy Hunting…