Using our mobile app? Be sure to check for any new app updates to receive any enhancements.
Logo

Get Healthy!

A Puppy in Santa's Sack? Probably Not, Say Parents
  • Robert Preidt
  • Posted December 23, 2019

A Puppy in Santa's Sack? Probably Not, Say Parents

Pets may be on your child's holiday wish list, but if you've nixed the idea, you're not alone.

Forty-two percent of American parents say they wouldn't allow their child to receive a pet as a holiday gift. The same number say maybe, and only 1 in 6 say they'd approve, a new survey finds.

Just 15% of parents said they've given their child a pet as a gift, the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health and the University of Michigan found.

The main reasons parents believe it's a good idea for children to have pets include: fun and companionship (63%); teaching responsibility (57%), because they had one as a child (39%); and protection (30%).

"Some families see great benefits in getting their child a pet, such as teaching responsibility and valuable life lessons like reliability, compassion and patience," poll co-director and pediatrician Dr. Gary Freed said in a university news release.

"But adding a new pet should not be an impulsive purchase. Families should carefully consider the decision to have a pet as well as what kind of pet is right for them. Parents should make sure a new pet fits their family's lifestyle and that everyone is prepared for the new responsibilities," Freed said.

In families without pets, the main reasons for not wanting a pet were the hassle (62%); pet allergies (55%); and cost (48%). Others said the children were not ready for the responsibility or might not be safe with a pet.

The most common age parents say is appropriate for a child to assume responsibility is 8 for feeding the pet; 9 for washing, brushing or cleaning up after the pet; and 10 for walking the pet, according to the survey of more than 1,700 parents. Participants had at least one child aged 5-18.

Two-thirds of parents said their family has a pet and 16% said they had one in the past.

The most common pets? Dogs (76%), cats (41%), fish, birds, and reptiles (24%), and small mammals such as rabbits or guinea pigs (9%).

More information

The American Veterinary Medical Association offers advice on selecting a pet for your family.

SOURCE: University of Michigan, news release, Dec. 16, 2019
HealthDay
Health News is provided as a service to Medicine Shoppe Ridgway site users by HealthDay. Medicine Shoppe Ridgway nor its employees, agents, or contractors, review, control, or take responsibility for the content of these articles. Please seek medical advice directly from your pharmacist or physician.
Copyright © 2020 HealthDay All Rights Reserved.