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‘4 ways a pet can help a child fight stress and anxiety’

A pet gives you a sense of meaning and purpose in life and relieves stress and anxiety say, parents and psychologist



There is a reason why psychologists and wellness coaches recommend that people keep a pet if there are children at home. Not only does the pet increase the opportunities to exercise, socialise and go out and play with them, but pets are also known to reduce stress, anxiety, and even depression. Did you know that pets can even help kids with special needs?

According to Dr Khyati Chaudhari, whose son Yuvaan Samir Chaudhari studies at Apeejay School Nerul in senior KG says that their Golden Retriever, Tooti has played a huge role in Yuvaan’s life. “While pets play an important role in our lives, the bond that a child develops with the pet depends largely on the parents. If a parent is afraid of the pet, the child will automatically be wary of them. It is important to engage the child with pet activities even if you don’t have one at home,” Dr Chaudhari said.

Pets are kind, loving, and warm. “You see the way they greet their family members when they come home. The way they wag their tail and vie for your attention and want to be petted is cute and humbling. That is the reason why they are called a man’s best friend,” Dr Chaudhari said.

“It is important to engage the child with pet activities even if you don’t have one at home”

Dr Khyati Chaudhari, Dentist (son Yuvaan Samir Chaudhari studies in senior KG at Apeejay School Nerul)

Citing an example of Tooti, she said that their pet can catch on to their mood fast. “If any one of us is feeling down or upset, Tooti comes to you and nuzzles your palm as if to reassure you that all is well. Feel good hormones are released and you immediately forget your worries and want to play with her,” Dr Chaudhari said.

Agrees Dr Pulkit Sharma, a Puducherry-based psychologist. “The best thing about pets is you need to give them basic care and they will shower you with affection. They are so full of unconditional love which is why they are extremely helpful to human beings, especially children,” Dr Sharma said.

The best part of having a pet at home is that they bring down your stress levels and a sense of feeling lonely. A pet at home will leave you feeling wanted. “Pets give you a sense of meaning and purpose in life. You know that there is someone who is dependent on you and that gives a whole new meaning to your life; it is like you have a purpose,” Dr Sharma explained.

He added that pets also contribute to one’s mental wellness. It doesn’t matter what kind of pet you have, what matters is that if a child is stressed, anxious, or even depressed, they can immediately lift their mood,” Dr Sharma stressed.

4 reasons to keep a pet for your child

They give you comfort: Their warm body or rhythmic breathing makes you feel cosy!

Snuggling with them relieves stress and anxiety: Therapy dogs have shown that they can be great stress relievers.

They help fight depression: For someone battling depression, unconditional love can work wonders during a particularly tough time.

They make you feel safe: Feeling vulnerable? A pet can provide you with a comforting feeling.

“The best part of having a pet at home is that they bring down your stress levels and a sense of feeling lonely”

Dr Pulkit Sharma, a Puducherry-based psychologist

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.