A puppy in Santa's sack? Probably not, parents say

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By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, December 23, 2019 (HealthDay News) – Pets may be on your child's holiday wish list, but if you rejected the idea, you are not alone.

Forty-two percent of American parents say they would not allow their child to receive a pet as a holiday gift. The same number says maybe, and only 1 in 6 say they would approve, according to a new survey.

Only 15% of parents said they had given their child a pet as a gift, according to the National Survey of Child Health C.S. Mott Children & # 39; s Hospital and the University of Michigan.

The main reasons why parents believe it is a good idea for children to have pets include: fun and company (63%); teacher responsibility (57%), because they had one when they were children (39%); and protection (30%).

"Some families see great benefits in getting a pet for their child, such as teaching responsibility and valuable life lessons such as reliability, compassion and patience," said survey co-director and pediatrician Dr. Gary Freed, in a statement of press of the university.

"But adding a new pet should not be an impulse purchase. Families should carefully consider the decision to have a pet and what type of pet is right for them. Parents should make sure that a new pet fits the lifestyle of his family and that everyone is prepared for the new responsibilities, "said Freed.

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

The most common age that parents say is appropriate for a child to assume responsibility is 8 to feed the pet; 9 to wash, brush or clean after the pet; and 10 for walking the pet, according to the survey of more than 1,700 parents. The participants had at least one child between 5 and 18 years old.

Two-thirds of parents said their family has a pet and 16% said they had it 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%).

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Sources

SOURCE: University of Michigan, press release, December 16, 2019



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