New study finds kids like their pets better than their siblings

Ten years’ worth of research has confirmed that life is better with pets.

A University of Cambridge study of more than 70 12-year-old children across a decade found children with pets were more likely to have better mental health and emotional well being.

We Know Pets owners Jeremy and Janine Maitland said they were excited to see academic evidence to support what they’ve seen occurring for years.

“We’ve known for a long time that mental health and pets go together,” Jeremy said.

“Whether it’s a cat, dog, goldfish or reptile, having someone beside you is a comfort – it doesn’t matter who or what it is, or even whether they can talk back to you,” he laughed.

During their more than 15 years at the Bowral pet store, the couple has seen countless families welcome pets into their lives.

“We have customers who come in now, who at first couldn’t even see over the counter and are now in third-year university – and we’ve been lucky enough to see not just them grow, but also their relationships with their pets.”

Janine, who has a background in research with the University of Sydney, said she and Jeremy saw it was their responsibility to keep up to date with the latest literature and articles on pets.

“When we’re talking to people about pets, the way animals behave and the benefits it will have for them and their family, we need to have evidence to back it up,” she said.

The study, printed in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, also confirmed what some parents may be all too familiar with – children tend to like their pets better than their siblings.

It found participants garnered more satisfaction from time with their pets compared to their brothers and sisters, and also had less conflict with them.


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