PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – According to the Pet Health Council, a five year study of 600 children 3-18 years of age revealed that those raised with companion animals have overall better life coping skills than those who don’t live with a pet. This was seen especially in children who have difficulty in learning skills and in children whose parents have divorced.

Researchers have found that children living with pets, regardless of their living situations, have overall higher levels of self-esteem and function much better emotionally than those living without companion animals.

A health psychologist in England presented findings of a study involving children ages 5-11 years of age, which showed that absenteeism from school from illness was significantly reduced and their school attendance had increased.

A companion animal can teach a child many important life lessons including developing responsible behavior to care for them, a connection to nature and a respect for all living things. Just remember that very young children need adult supervision to keep both child and animal safe. And older children should still be supervised to make sure that the animal’s needs are being met sufficiently. Parents should always model gentle and calm leadership behavior first for children to emulate in caring for their animals.

Reported By Nan Talleno, KYW Newsradio

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