London: Presence of pets at home benefits children in their homework than hindering their progress while also helping them in developing cleverness, a British study over beneficial effects of pet ownership has suggested.

Commissioned by Pets at Home, a Britain-based pet supplies retailing company, the study of 1,000 pet-owning children, aged between 5-16 years, revealed that the vast majority -- 79 per cent -- believe their pet friends have a positive effect on their homework and schoolwork in general, a daily reported.

Children with rats or mice are most likely to believe that their pet could be helping them with their homework (92 per cent), against 86 (per cent) and 80 (per cent) for children owning dogs and cats respectively.

Wildlife TV presenter and animal lover Michaela Strachan, who has a seven-year-old and three elder step-children, endorses the findings.

"Owning a pet can bring so much pleasure to a family. It can increase a child's sense of responsibility, nurture a more caring attitude and develop self-confidence and, in the case of having a dog, it encourages kids to get outside more. There can be so many benefits."

Nearly half of the children in the study believed owning and looking after a pet made them happier, a third claim to be calmer, while a fifth feel more intelligent.

Reptile owners, with 68 per cent, top the charts for those believing their pet had given them a greater sense of responsibility. Rabbit owners come second with 61 per cent; 40 per cent for cat owners and 36 per cent for dog owners.

"Owning a pet also has a positive impact on a child's level of fitness," said Scott Jefferson, marketing director for Pets at Home. "More than 30 per cent of children who took part in our survey said they had become more active as a result of owning a pet."


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