Kids more intelligent if they have Pets

Friday 27th July, 2012 by Claire Lodge.


Schoolchildren may be better off asking their pets to help them with their homework rather than their parents.

A crazy notion you might think. But not according to a recent survey in which a staggering 79% of a thousand children, aged between five and 16, stated that they firmly believed that their pets had a positive effect, not only on their homework, but on their work at school as well.

And there’s more…

Apparently children with rats or mice are more likely than anyone else to make out a case for their pet helping them with their homework, just pipping dog and cat owners. And those whose pet happens to be a South African chinchilla are thought to be the most intelligent. So, rodents go top of the class, canines second, felines third.

Remember those dreaded end-of-term school reports which used to say ‘could do better’? In the light of these findings perhaps they ought to be amended to ‘could do better if Tom/Sarah had a pet.’

There are those children who are labelled, rather disparagingly, as a ‘teacher’s pet’, but it would seem that the pupils’ pet is of far more significance!

And there’s more…

Reptile owners (68%) scored top marks for believing their pet had given them a greater sense of responsibility, with rabbit owners (61%) second, cat owners (40%) third and dog owners – maybe surprisingly, only fourth, with 36%.

And there’s more…

Half of the children questioned also believed that looking after a pet makes them more responsible and caring, happier and calmer.

And there’s more…

Scott Jefferson, marketing director for Pets at Home (who conducted the survey as part of their Kids Holiday Pet Club)“Owning a pet also has a positive impact on a child’s level of fitness. More than 30% of children who took part in our survey said they had become more active as a result of owning a pet.”

And there’s more…

One in five of the children questioned said they had become better at talking to people. Oh, well, you might scoff, it’s only a survey, and children will naturally boast of their pets’ prowess – especially if the questions are angled a certain way.

But there’s more…

It comes in the shape of an endorsement from none other than wildlife TV presenter and animal lover Michaela Strachan who says: “Owning a pet can bring so much pleasure to a family. It can increase a child’s sense of responsibility, nurture a more caring attitude and develop self-confidence and, in the case of having a dog, it encourages kids to get outside more. There can be so many benefits.”

She talks from personal experience. She has a Jack Russell named Toto who is very much part of the family and has, in Michaela’s own words ‘brought huge benefits to my seven-year-old and three older step children.”

One thing more. If you want to find the happiest pet-owning kids on the block then East Anglia is the place, with Scotland not too far behind.

The old adage says ‘if you want to get ahead get a hat’. But times they are a-changing. Now it would seem to be ‘if you want to get ahead get a pet’.