Children get on better with, and derive more satisfaction from, their pets than with their own brothers and sisters, a report suggests.

Kids with pets.
It is thought household pets could have a major influence on child development.

The research, from the University of Cambridge, is seen as adding to increasing evidence household pets may have a major influence on child development and could have a positive impact on a child’s social skills and emotional well-being.

Studying relationships

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, was conducted in collaboration with the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, and was co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of a larger study led by Claire Hughes at the University of Cambridge Centre for Family Research.

Researchers surveyed 12-year-old children from 77 families with one or more pet of any type and more than one child at home.

Less conflict

Children reported strong relationships with their pets relative to their siblings, with lower levels of conflict and greater satisfaction in owners of dogs than other kinds of pets.

To read the study in full, visit ScienceDirect’s website.

View your activity >

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of


related content

The BVA says it is “appalled” at the vote by legislators to reintroduce the tail docking of certain classes of working dogs in Scotland.

4 mins

A vet appointment has hailed the start of a new era for a Northumberland town’s oldest veterinary practice.

4 mins

Research from the RVC has shown brachycephalic dogs are 11 times more susceptible to corneal ulcerative disease compared to non-brachycephalics.

4 mins

Staff from Vets4Pets and Petplan raise hundreds of pounds for Bath Cats and Dogs Home at the charity's annual kennel lock-in.

2 mins

Most practices have emerged from the dark ages, when postcards and the odd phone call were the only ways of communicating with clients. Dr Ernie Ward explains how modern methods are driving revenue growth, enhancing patient care and boosting client satisfaction.

25 mins

The difficulties faced by practices trying to recruit experienced vets has led an increasing number to turn to new graduates. Taking on inexperienced vets can be a challenge, but when it works, the rewards to both employer and employee are substantial, says Jenny Stuart.

10 mins