Animal IQ

Kids Would Choose Their Pets Over Their Siblings

Here's some totally unexpected, not-at-all-predictable news: A study found that kids prefer their pets over their siblings.

Sure, it may seem obvious that a child would love Fido more than their annoying little brother, but this study really did have some surprising findings, too.

Related: Kids With Pets Have Fewer Allergies

Kid's Best Friend

Pets are often seen as a part of the family. If you've ever had a pet, you know what we're talking about. But as it turns out, pets may be more critical members of the family than you realize. A study published in January 2017 in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology found that children reported more satisfaction and less conflict with their pets than with their siblings. Maybe a no-brainer. Interestingly, the study also found that girls reported "more intimate disclosure, companionship, and conflict" with their pet than did boys.

Related: If Your Mom Calls You Your Sibling's Name, Don't Worry. It Means She Loves You Both

Now let's get to the question on everyone's mind: What kind of pet are we talking about? The study looked at a variety of pets, but found that dogs are particularly special companions. Dog owners reported more satisfaction and companionship with their pup than owners of other pets did.

Related: Pets Help People Cope With Mental Illness

Promise Not To Tell?

Playing fetch or cuddling up on the couch is just the start. The kids in the study also reported talking to their pets and sharing secrets with them, which may serve a therapeutic purpose. "Even though pets may not fully understand or respond verbally, the level of disclosure to pets was no less than to siblings," the study's lead author Matt Cassells, a psychiatry Ph.D. student at the University of Cambridge, said. "The fact that pets cannot understand or talk back may even be a benefit as it means they are completely non-judgmental."

Co-author Nancy Gee, the human-animal interaction research manager at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, says this study adds to the growing understanding of how pets have positive benefits on people. Pets, for the win!

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Watch And Learn: Our Favorite Content About Pets And Kids

Decoding Why Children Prefer Pets To Their Siblings

It doesn't mean kids want pets instead of their siblings, though.

Written by Curiosity Staff February 10, 2017

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