Last year it was estimated that 12 million people – 46% of households – had pets. Of these almost a quarter own dogs, making it the most popular pet in the UK, with cats not far behind. There is nothing better than growing up with a furry four-legged friend that will show nothing but love and affection, so why wouldn’t you want to bring a pet into your family home?

But, besides this, there are also many benefits to adding a pet to your family for both you and your children. They provide a harmonious dynamic for the whole family as well as being beneficial to the physical, social and cognitive development of your child. All pets teach them many skills that they can take into later life including social skills, academic skills, respect, trust and so on.

If that isn’t enough to convince you to start searching through the puppies for sale from Freeads, there is also another extremely important skill any pet can teach your child, which will really benefit them as they are growing up. That skill is responsibility.

Responsibility is extremely important to learn and have – but how would your pet teach this to your children?

Well, pets require daily feeding, exercise and affection, plus they must be groomed and cleaned up after. Children will learn to look out for the signs that means your pet requires them. Are they hungry? Do they need to go outside? Do they need water? Do they need cleaning?

Completing these chores will teach your child to look after something other than themselves. This in turn will enable them to learn simple tasks such as keeping food and water bowls topped up, grooming and exercising them.

Your dog, cat, rabbit or hamster can not look after itself, they rely solely on you for their wellbeing. As a result, your child will understand that by not taking responsibility, their beloved pet could become ill or neglected in terms of appearance and condition. This then enables them to understand the importance of taking responsibility and doing the tasks expected of them.

Young children can be given jobs to do that you oversee and as they get older start to do those jobs and more for themselves.

From having the responsibility of looking after your pet, your child will also learn other skills such as confidence, which will come from successfully completing the tasks required of them.

Before choosing a pet to teach your children about responsibility, consider carefully which one would be right for you, because all pets will teach your child these skills on varying levels. A fish, for example, still needs to be fed, checked on and have the water in its tank changed – which will require your child to take responsibility. A dog, however, requires food, water, exercise, care and companionship every day of every year and therefore comes with much more responsibility. Perhaps if you have young children and/or haven’t had a dog or cat before, a fish or hamster would be the right pet for you, for now.

Remember, a pet isn’t just there to teach your child responsibility, you need to be prepared for the responsibility that comes with owning it as well!

Regular vet checkups and pet insurance are a must. Bivvy has some great pet plans, so make sure you check them out if you don’t already have insurance


Founder of Paisley.org.uk in 1998 and constantly strives to change peoples attitudes to the town, Brian is a self described Paisley Digital Champion who promotes Paisley via any means necessary. You can also follow me on X