The Parenthood alum lends her voice to the new animated film, Rock Dog
Build Series Presents Mae Whitman Discussing "Rock Dog"
Credit: Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

Actress Mae Whitman didn’t hesitate when she had a chance to lend her voice to the new animated film, Rock Dog.

“My mom [Pat Musick] is a voice-over artist, so I grew up around that,” the actress tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “It’s such a fun environment and always feels like home.”

The Parenthood alum says she loves working on animated films because “it doesn’t matter how you look. You get to go in your sweat pants. And it’s really nice to connect with kids, especially when the message is great.”

Whitman, 28, who has been acting since she was a toddler, credits her parents for her own journey as a child in Hollywood. “I really owe it to [them] for being extremely mindful and present, and they always treated me with respect and consideration,” she says. “They took so much care to make sure the environment we were in was very kind and sensitive. I was really lucky.”

For more of Whitman’s interview, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands now

The actress says she was always given the chance to live — and enjoy — her life outside of work. “My parents did such a good job over the years of never making this bigger than what was going to make me feel good and where my heart was,” she adds. “If I wanted to go on a field trip instead of doing a movie, [they] were supportive. They would be like, ‘Don’t do it! Do your field trip, whatever you want.’ ”

It’s a lesson Whitman still applies when balancing her career with her personal life.

“Even though acting is the most important thing to me, I still always consider my own health and emotions and the people I love and my relationships when I’m putting things together,” she says. “Because if things get unbalanced, you can even see that in the work. I really owe it all to my parents.”