Pets as Therapy: Supporting Emotional Growth in Children

Pets have been considered part of the family for a long time, and their role tends to exceed mere companionship. Therapy pets are supposed to hold a special place to support emotional growth in children. The animals used as therapy pets are not for the purpose of keeping the house and family cheerful and lively but also serve as partners and teachers while bringing up a young, impressionable mind and heart.

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Understanding Children’s Emotional Growth

Emotional growth is one of the most important things in the life of a child. It includes learning to control feelings, understanding empathy, and making deep relations with other individuals. Healthy emotional development means that children can achieve better progress in school and have a happier, more fulfilling adult life with relationships.

Types of Pets Therapy

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Most of the common therapy pets so far have remained to be dogs; however, it has been noted that other animals effectively serve as therapy, among them being cats, horses, rabbits, or even birds. Most important of the characteristics that make these animals befitting for therapy include a calm nature, friendliness, and the ability to bind with human beings.

Benefits of Animals for Children with Autism

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There are many advantages to therapy pets for kids:

Emotional Advantage: Interacting with therapy pets, the cortisol or stress hormone level was found to diminish, and, on the contrary, oxytocin, which is associated with happiness and relaxation, gets enhanced. This leads to reduced anxiety and improved mood.

Social Benefits: In fact, pets really act as a social catalyst for kids and allow them to engage much more in social environments. Even they tend to teach a child to healthily express themselves and make them learn how to socialize with other people.

Cognitive benefits: Engaging with pets can improve cognitive development. Engage in activities like feeding, grooming, and training the pets so that kids get to engage in problem-solving and memory skill practices.

Real-Life Success Stories
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Many families have noted marked differences in their children from this intervention using therapy pets. For example, a young boy by the name of Alex who struggled with very severe anxiety opened up and became more vocal after regularly engaging with a therapy dog.
He was able to make friends and engage in class and school activities.

How to Get Started with Pets as Therapy
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In case you are a parent and your child needs a therapy pet, kindly follow the steps below:

Research: Find qualifications and information on joining for each organization by researching therapy pet organizations locally and visiting each of their websites.

Visit: Attend events or locations where therapy pets are present to see how your child interacts with them.

Consult: You should consult with a professional, say a pediatrician or a psychologist, who will really help you know whether a therapy pet is really fit for your child.

Challenges and considerations
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Although therapy pets are very helpful, there’s an obstacle to point out: someone is allergic or, what is worse, might be afraid of animals. Besides, it is indispensable to take care of the well-being of your pet and treat him or her with kindness and respect, not like some instrument for therapy.


Therapy pets can greatly help with emotional and social development in children, as kids learn what empathy means, how to communicate, and even get relaxed when they are stressed out. For parents who are not sure these lovable creatures are actually that miraculous resource, therapy pets can be your child’s best friend to help them through the difficult maze of growing up. Introducing your child to a therapy pet may make a real difference in his or her emotional and social skills, making his or her quality of life improved.

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