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Pets and Educational Pet Products: the New Teacher’s “Pet” this Back-to-School Season

- Pets and Interactive Toys and Training Products Help Teach Children Responsibility and Valuable Lessons-

GREENWICH, CT., April 27, 2005As our nation’s children head back to school this fall, education will be top of mind with parents. What better way to teach valuable lessons than with a furry, winged or finned friend? Studies have shown children with dogs maintain better relationships with peers, score higher on tests of popularity, social skills, and compassion for others and have higher self-esteem. And leading experts say pets in general help teach children about responsibility, social behavior and caring. Pets are also being utilized in a growing number of rehabilitation and education programs nationwide.


That may be one reason there are now more than 356 million pets in the country according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA) 2005-2006 National Pet Owners Survey which also shows pet owners are more likely to have young children under 18 years old at home than the rest of the population. In addition, the survey finds that many pet owners say pets are beneficial because they teach children responsibility and are good for their health and the health of their family.

“There are significant emotional and psychological benefits of pet ownership for children,” said Bob Vetere, COO and managing director of APPA. “The unconditional love pets provide helps foster confidence in children, and teaching children how to care for a pet provides an opportunity to demonstrate good values, proper behavior and respect for others.”

The key according to Vetere, is teaching safe interaction between pets and children. In order to get the most out of spending quality time with the family pet, APPA offers the following new products and safety tips:

  • The Juvenile Series Aquarium Stand by Aquatic Fundamentals offers a built-in chalkboard that enables kids to personalize their own aquarium by adding that special touch.  www.marcogroupinc.com
  • The CritterTrail Off to School by SuperPetâ is a unique multipurpose accessory that looks like a school bus and can be used as a home, cage add-on, or a carrier. The Off to School includes real rolling wheels and a built-in handle to encourage interactive play between pets and their owners.  Off to School came in second in the New Product Showcase, Best In Show Award Small Animal product at Global Pet Expo. Also from Superpetâ, Block Bites are wood chews for small animals featuring alphabet block shapes in assorted colors with letters and character faces.  www.superpetusa.com
  • Feathered Phonics CD is an easy way to teach your bird to speak and sing with a wide variety of phrases, sentences or paragraphs, barnyard sounds, tunes, whistles and rhymes. You can even teach your bird to speak Spanish or use an Australian accent. Your children might pick up some new words with your bird!  www.featheredphonics.com
  • Happy Dog Toys makes owning a fish more fun for children with Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePantsÔ line of fish aquariums and accessories.  Bikini Bottom Aquarium Set comes with a 1.5 gallon double wave tank, SpongeBobÔ Aqua-figure, AquabrightÔ cover, bubble-wall aeration and filter system, pump tubing, gravel, and vinyl cling backdrop decoration.  Other Bikini Bottom figures are sold separately including Gary the Snail, Squidward Tentacles, Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks.  www.happydogtoys.com
  • “The Crazy Kids Guide to Cooking For Your Pet” makes cooking for pets fun for kids with pet-healthy recipes, tips, jokes, and fun things to do with your pet.  The book has recipes like Frozen Pup-Cakes and Hot Diggity Dogs; names that will surely get children cooking for their pet and encourage the necessary interaction needed for a good human/pet relationship. www.crazypet.com
  • Make sure your pets have received the proper education and training for interaction with children with T.F.H Publications ‘The Simple Guide to’ series of training manuals. The series includes “The Simple Guide to Puppies” which gives advice on selecting the right puppy, behavior and socialization, housetraining, basic obedience, grooming, feeding and nutrition, health care, and most importantly how to have fun with your puppy.  Other books include simple guides to dog training, bird care, aquariums and ferrets. www.tfhpublications.com
  • If fashion is important to your child, let them share their passion with the family dog. Dogglesâ is now offering DOGGÔ, a new upscale line of pet fashions that includes hats, jackets and clothing in the latest fall fashions.  www.doggles.com
  • For more canine style, Collegiate Stripe Collars & Leads from Fox & Hounds' Collegiate Stripe Collection is reminiscent of those popular preppy ties, revered for their classic style and a perfect complement to the khakis/navy blazer look. You and your child can show off the family dog’s preppy style with these collars and leads made of soft nylon ribbon in 10 color combinations.  www.foxandhounds.com

    APPA offers the following suggestions for safe interaction between children and pets: 

·         Do not leave a young child unattended in the presence of a big dog

·         Teach children manners – while some pets will tolerate anything, do not let children tug, pull at or lay on pets

·         Understand and teach canine body language

·         Consider obedience school or behavioral training for the family dog

·         Be patient with young children when caring for pets, be realistic with their roles, and do not expect too much of them

 

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Founded in 1958, the American Pet Products Association is the nation's leading not-for-profit trade organization serving the interests of the pet product industry and educating the public on the many joys and health benefits associated with pet ownership.APPA's membership consists of more than 800 companies, which include both small businesses, as well as the nation's leading pet product companies. Visit APPA online at www.americanpetproducts.org.