How Does Pet Ownership Benefit Children?

December 14, 2017

Pets Influence the Development of Self-Esteem & Promote Learning

It is commonly assumed that pet ownership benefits children, but hold on. Is there any evidence for that?

Researchers from the University of Liverpool drilled down on this very question and came up with some interesting conclusions – some which may surprise you.

To answer questions on the impact of pet ownership on childhood anxiety, depression, social competence, self-esteem and learning, the authors critically examined and combined the results of twenty-two high quality studies. Their answers published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in March, 2017.

According to their research, self-esteem is positively influenced by pet ownership, as are the domains of learning and loneliness.

Pet ownership outcomes pertaining to development of social interactions and behavioral characteristics appear to be less positively affected by childhood pet ownership, while the impact on depression and anxiety are even less so.

The authors were also quick to point out that pet ownership is not without risks, especially for children under five years of age, who unwittingly, but frequently provoke animals into biting them.

This is Dr. Jim for Be Healthy! Be Happy! Stay tuned for more information on childhood pet ownership and be ever mindful to power your path to happiness!


Reference: Purewal, R. et al, 2017. Companion Animals and Child//Adolescent Development: A Systematic Review. Online [available]: [Accessed November 19, 2017].