Got a baby? Get a pet…

Whilst the combination of children and animals might be a film director’s worst nightmare, with the announcement today of Royal hamster Marvin hitting the papers, it seems a timely topic for discussion.

A series of adorable photographs celebrating the special bond between young children and their pets has been exclusively commissioned by The Baby Show.  A new study revealed that nearly half (47%) of new parents today have pets at home in the first three years of their child’s life, while 83% of parents believe that having a pet is beneficial for their child’s development.

2 - Jacob

The survey also reports why parents think having a pet has a positive impact on young children with 60% saying it is good for them to interact with animals from a young age and almost a third (29%) believing it teaches them responsibility whilst 1 in 10 (9%) say it improves their social skills.

17 - AlyssaDogs were crowned king of the pets, beating cats, rabbits and fish as the nation’s favourite animal to have with young children:

  1. Dog (48%)
  2. Cat (30%)
  3. Rabbit (7%)
  4. Fish (6%)
  5. Guinea Pig (4%)
  6. Hamster, Gerbil, Mouse or Rat (3%)
  7. Bird (2%)1 - Aria

Obviously it’s a no-brainer that many prospective parents establish their ability to care for a dependent by trialing pet ownership before opting to pro-create (as Kate and Wills did with good ole Lupo the dog) but it’s good to see that the furry/scaly/feathered ‘children’ are remaining in the picture once the human offspring arrives.

One word of warning a seasoned pet owner might have for the Cambridges however is that hamsters don’t tend to have a long life expectation (3 years average) – not to mention the fact that they tend to meet with some untimely ends as a result of their size and ability to escape – so Prince George and Princess Charlotte might have some difficult concepts to deal with in the not-too-distant future.

(Aaah well, we presume there’s a biscuit tin ‘by Royal Appointment’ and a corner of the grounds of Anmer Hall at the ready…)

Pictures thanks to The Baby Show