Teens and Pets: The Perfect Match

Pixabay – CCO Licence

Welcoming a new pet into the family is always an exciting time. From puppies and ponies to reptiles and rats, animals inevitably make life fun and fulfilling. There are numerous benefits associated with pet ownership, regardless of your age. For teens, however, owning a pet can be particularly beneficial.

If you’re unsure whether or not to give in to your teen’s requests for a pet of their own, take a look at the benefits it could offer:


Constant Companionship

Even in today’s digital world, being a teenager can be lonely at times. When you have a pet in your life, you’re lucky enough to have a constant companion. While friendship groups can change and BFFs can fall out over the smallest things, a loving pet will never let you down – your animal will always be there when you need it the most.

If you’re the parent of a teen, you’ll know just how intense friendships can be at this age. Fortunately, having a pet will ensure your kid always has a BFF they can rely on. Proven to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, owning a pet means you always have the best company.


Sense of Responsibility

As kids get older, they are usually given more responsibility. Youngsters may start out with a few chores, for example, before being allocated specific tasks around the home. Owning a pet is a great way to give teens more responsibility.

Make sure your teen has a good idea of what they’re signing up for if they want to get a pet. Take a look at online pet stores, like Equi Supermarket, and it’s easy to see just how much effort goes into caring for pets. From bedding and food to medicines and toys, you’ll need a varied range of equipment in order to cater to your pets needs.

No matter what type of pet you plan on getting, discuss who is going to take on what responsibilities before you welcome them into your home. If you’re getting a puppy, for example, which member of the family is going to commit to daily walks and who will be responsible for feeding? If you’re planning on getting a pony for your teen, will they check on them throughout the day and clean their stable on a daily basis?


Enhances Fitness Levels

Almost everyone wants to improve their fitness levels, but it can be tough to force yourself to go to the gym or to exercise at home. Teens tend to be particularly body conscious, so you may have noticed your kid spending more time on their appearance or worrying about how they look.

Having a pet is a fantastic way to improve your fitness, without making it a big deal. When you’re playing with pets, walking them or riding them, you quickly boost your base fitness levels. Similarly, exercising your pet can be a great way to lose excess weight or increase muscle mass.

However, having a pet means you can improve your fitness without even focusing on it! Instead of counting calories, walking a certain number of steps each day or worrying about how they look, teens get fit easily when they have a pet to care for.


Pixabay – CCO Licence


Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Although stress is a normal part of life, too much stress can have a negative impact on your health and well-being. Today’s teens have markedly higher levels of stress and anxiety than they used to, so it’s important to find ways to help your kid overcome any issues they might be facing.

Studies have shown that spending time with animals can be an effective way to reduce anxiety and alleviate stress. In fact, stroking or caring for a pet can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels!

Many people find that having a pet by their side enables them to cope with stressors in a healthier way. If you’ve ever seen someone with an emotional support pet, you’ll know just how calming and therapeutic the presence of a pet can be.


Motivates You to Go Outside

If you’re worried that your teen spends too long inside or sat behind a screen, pet ownership could definitely be a gamechanger. When you have a pet, you naturally need to spend more time outdoors. Whether it’s walking a dog, exercising a horse or cleaning out a rabbit hutch, your teen will need to increase the amount of time they spend outside if they’re going to care for a pet.

Being outside can be beneficial for both physical and mental well-being, so simply spending more time outdoors could have a noticeable impact on your kid’s mood. Being surrounded by nature and breathing in the fresh air is beneficial for everyone but can be particularly important for kids who tend to spend most of their time indoors.


Improve Social Skills

Some teenagers feel comfortable socialising with their friends but struggle when talking to adults or people in authority. Alternatively, some teens are comfortable in a family setting but find it difficult to interact with people in their peer group. If your teen has issues with being social, getting a pet can be an effective way to help them overcome any difficulties they have.

People with social anxiety or autism often benefit from pet ownership, particularly in relation to their social interactions. Some people with autism find social situations overwhelming or difficult to navigate, for example, but having a pet gives them a focus and something to talk about.

Society requires us to be social every day, which can be a constant battle for anyone who struggles with social situations. However, owning a pet tends to naturally improve social skills and boosts confidence too, which can have a major impact on your teen.


More Family Time

If you’ve noticed that your kid is less keen on spending time with you as they get older, you’re not alone! Most teenagers spend more time on computers or hanging out with friends than they do with their parents. If you miss spending time with your kid or you’re struggling to persuade them to do more as a family, pet ownership could give them the encouragement you’re hoping for.

Playing with a pet in the garden, mucking out stables or taking a dog on a long walk can be fun for everyone, including teenagers. While you might not be able to persuade your teen to spend time with you one-on-one, putting a pet into the mix can certainly make family time more appealing to teens and tweens!


Learn to Budget

If your teen is begging for a pet, now is the perfect time to teach them some budgeting skills. Owning a pet can be expensive and there are lots of costs to consider before you decide whether or not you’re ready for pet ownership.

If your teen has a part-time job or receives an allowance, discuss how much they’re willing to contribute. While it’s unlikely a teenager’s income is going to cover the entire cost of caring for a pet, contributing can help them to learn to budget their money more effectively.


Choosing a Pet for Your Teen

If you’re buying or rehoming a pet for your teen, try to involve them in the process as much as possible. As the primary caregiver, they need to have a good understanding of exactly what they’ll need to do to care for their new companion. With the right research, preparation and support, pet ownership can be transformative for teens and bring a lifetime of happiness to everyone in the family.


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