Animals And Anxiety


Pets offer multiple benefits for children while they are growing up.

Some of the benefits of a child having a pet are reduced allergies and asthma. Also, the child understands and is more compassionate and passionate then children that do not have pets.

One of the most significant benefits for a child with a pet is reduced anxiety.

Many children suffer from anxiety because of the pressure of today’s society. Studies have shown that a child that has a pet is less likely to have childhood anxiety than those that do not.

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Animals And Anxiety;

The Research

During an 18-month study in upstate New York, researchers from the Basset Medical Center, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and Dartmouth Medical School studied 643 children to decide if dog ownership improved a child’s health.

For this study, parents answered questions about the child’s mental health, physical health, body mass index, and pet ownership. This data was collected and then analyzed.

The research showed that the child body mass index and physical activity did not change with having a dog. But when it came to mental health children that had a dog scored lower on anxiety than children that did not have a dog.

The research showed that 21 percent of children without dogs met the clinical edge to be screened for anxiety and other mental health disorders while only 12 percent of children with dogs met the clinical edge to be tested.

The Benefits Of Having A Dog

Why are dogs helping more with anxiety than other pets?

  1. Dogs are more compassionate than other animals.
  2. Children can talk to dogs, and they will stay beside that child give him/her the compassioned they need. Being able to speak to an animal and get the child’s thought and feeling out will help with anxiety.
  3. Dogs can also pick on different behaviors that a child is showing. A dog may understand when that child is having a hard time and will show more compassion and more attention to the child then if that child is doing alright. This interaction will help the child cope with his or her feeling during that time.

Can other animals help children with their anxiety?

The research done was based on dogs because many people who have pets have dogs as pets.

That does not mean that other animals can be just as beneficial as dogs can for children’s mental health. Animal Therapy for Children with special needs has been proven over and over again to have a lasting POSITIVE impact on children.

Having an outlet for your child and a companion that your child can lean on and learn from will help your child with their mental health and understanding responsibility and compassion.


Picture of McKenzie Wickham, M.S.Ed

McKenzie Wickham, M.S.Ed

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