Blog: The Healthiest Way to a Healthy You
by PaisleyH

How a Pet Can Benefit Your Child's Health

Animals are often intuitive, soothing creatures. Your pets have a way of knowing when you are not doing well and when you need a little extra love.

Date:   5/23/2022 10:37:28 PM   ( 40 d ) ... viewed 16 times

Animals are often intuitive, soothing creatures. Your pets have a way of knowing when you are not doing well and when you need a little extra love. They have a special way of bonding with children, in particular, who may have certain mental or physical health conditions. They have a way of reaching a part of children that many humans do not have. If your child has a health condition, you may want to consider the benefits that a pet might bring into their life.

Lower Heart Rate

If you have ever held a sleeping puppy or pet a kitten who has dozed off in your lap, you will know that animals have a way of lowering your heart rate and blood pressure. The soothing motion of stroking their fur and feeling their breathing under your hand can help to regulate your breathing. A child who has anxiety may experience a decrease in anxiety attacks due to this. Because of the impact that dysautonomia has on blood pressure and heart rate, the presence of a pet can also help to prevent dizzy spells in children with this disorder. 


Some children, especially autistic ones, function best when they are following a routine. Others, such as those with ADHD, have trouble remaining aware of the passage of time. In either case, having a pet can help to introduce a sense of regularity into your child's life. Animals need to be fed and taken out on a schedule. If you set an alarm to go off during feeding or potty times, this can help to bring awareness to what time it is. If you put your child in charge of some age-appropriate tasks related to the care of their pet, this can also help to instill a sense of time and continuity in their life.


When dealing with mental illness or disability, it can be difficult for a child to understand their inherent value. Pets are great at helping people see the best in themselves because they show humans unconditional love, even on their hardest days. When dealing with a disability or mental illness, it can be easy to have issues with negative body image, self-doubt, and feelings of worthlessness, but your pets don't see any of that when they look at you. They see someone who takes care of them and loves them. This can help instill a lot of confidence in your child if they are struggling to see themself in a positive light.


Sometimes, the best thing our pets can do for us is simply to be there. Children with various types of conditions often have difficulties making friends and maintaining relationships with other humans. While a pet does not replace the need for human companionship, it can provide a great source of nonjudgemental comfort for your child. A pet can help your child to develop socially, as well. Pets provide a communication bridge for kids who have difficulties socializing with others their age. They act as a common ground, a distraction from the scary parts of socializing, and support through the duration of social interaction. 

Pets can have some incredible impacts on humans, and children with mental illness or other types of disabilities can be greatly benefited from their presence. Service animals (task-trained, public-access trained support dogs) or emotional support animals (pets who provide emotional comfort to their owner) are often great choices for mitigating conditions in children because of their comforting nature. Even if your pet is "only" a pet, it is likely that they bring some kind of love and support into your child's life. 


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