Let Us Count the (Innumerable) Ways Pets Help Kids With Disabilities

Everyone knows that kids and pets make the perfect combo and their special bond is beyond compare. Pets are extremely loyal to their young owners, but they’re also highly intuitive and even anticipate needs before they’re voiced. This is why emotional support and service animals are so essential to many people with various health challenges.

Taking it an extra step further, with their unconditional love, close companionship, and constant, comforting presence, pets help kids with disabilities in multiple meaningful ways.

Full Spectrum

Scientific research is rapidly emerging regarding kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADHD, depression, anxiety, learning disabilities, processing disorders, or behavioral issues.

In fact, a  study by the Journal of Pediatric Nursing observed families coping with these certain types of health challenges, and found that two-thirds of them all had dogs at home. Of them, almost all asserted that their child had a strong, unique bond with the dog. The study concluded that pets help kids with disabilities develop various social skills.

A Subtle Shift

Additionally, pets help kids with disabilities stay calm in the wake of sizable frustrations. Kids, when connected to their domestic animal of choice, experience greater relief from their daily sensory, behavioral, or social struggles.

Other Ways Pets Help Kids With Disabilities

Whether or not they are certified Emotional Support Animals or specially-trained service dogs, animals benefit children coping with special needs in these additional ways:

  • Stress relief – Anyone with a close relationship with their four-legged friend can attest to the good feelings when they’re near to their buddy. This has to do with cortisol, the stress-response hormone, plummeting. Research has shown pets help kids with disabilities like ASD by managing cortisol levels, lowering blood pressure and heart rates.
  • Uplifting – When stress is kept to a minimum, kids with disabilities experience a happier mood and positive outlook. Also, pet help kids with disabilities experience feelings of compassion and empathy.
  • Connection – There is strong evidence to suggest that pets help kids with disabilities engage more often and in a more meaningful way with others. In fact, the mere presence of a pet reduces feelings of social isolation and increases a child’s awareness of their surroundings.
  • Safety – It is possible that pets help kids with disabilities stay safe by alerting parents to certain potentially dangerous situations.  

Continuing Education

A pet can enhance the quality of life for a child with a disability by creating an opportunity to learn. When kids are included in the responsibilities of pet ownership, like feeding, cleaning and exercising, they are given meaningful opportunities to contribute and learn.

A Match

The right pet can make a huge difference in the lives of families coping with specific challenges. If our veterinarians and staff members can assist you with any questions or concerns, we hope you’ll contact us.