Hanford Veterinary Hospital Blog
Celebrating the Many Ways Pets Help Kids With Disabilities
The benefits of pet ownership are well known. From reducing isolation to lowering blood pressure, from encouraging independence to elevating mood, the animals in our lives have a direct impact on our happiness and longevity. Similarly, pets help kids with disabilities by simply being there for them.
However, the mere presence of a calm, loving animal at home can do so much more to add to a child’s quality of life.
Pets help kids with disabilities cope in predictable and surprising ways. The same benefits of pet ownership apply to all people, but for children coping with various symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, Asperger’s, ADHD, anxiety, depression, and more, close companionship with an animal is a type of lifeline.
Children living with certain health and behavioral challenges are significantly impacted by quality time spent with animals. Research indicates that pets help kids with disabilities function at a higher level in social situations, meaning they are more engaged with others and more aware of their surroundings. Focus and attention are greatly improved, and kids are generally more open to involvement when exposed to an animal’s presence.
The Right Pet
There is more evidence to suggest that dogs are the the right pet for children with disabilities, but many experts agree that cats can be equally supportive of certain needs. No matter the species, emotional support animals, as well as highly trained service dogs, offer affection, unconditional love, and absolute loyalty to their young owners.
Pride of Ownership
Plus, pets help kids with disabilities by giving them an opportunity to care for a living creature. This sense of involvement and achievement is important to anyone regardless of age and ability, but for children struggling with various conditions it means so much to give compassionately and participate in the well being of another.
Pets Help Kids With Disabilities
Aside from all of these amazing ways that pets help kids with disabilities, they’re also directly responsible for the following:
- Keeping them safe – Dogs can alert parents if a child leaves the house, crosses the street, or wanders away while in public together.
- In alignment – It is possible for some pets to be trained to help children be aware of some of their movements, especially if they are repetitive or harmful. They can instantly calm a child with a single touch.
- Comfort – Some children may experience discomfort when it comes to human touch, but can be soothed by the physical closeness of an animal. These good feelings decrease isolation, loneliness, and despair. Buoyed by these natural sensations of comfort, kids are generally much happier when their pet is nearby.
They Are Just Incredible!
We love pets for all the things they bring to our lives and homes, but when we think about the ways pets help kids with disabilities we’re even more amazed by their qualities!