The Benefits of Having a Pet


Animals are not only great companions, but they can have great impacts on children with developmental challenges. For children with autism, a companion animal can be a supportive tool for social interaction, emotional stability, and to increase their independence.

Much like emotional support animals, pets can enrich a child's life in impactful ways and make navigating autism much easier for the whole family. There is an endless list of benefits for autistic children to grow up with a pet.

Let's take a look at some of the key benefits for kids with autism who have the joy of owning an animal. 


  • Teaches Compassion 

The first benefit of having a pet can be teaching children to develop compassion for others. Children who have autism often miss out on the social side of life, and pets can bring out the caring side of their character. Animals are great at showing affection, which is something that autistic children may not be able to do as easily as some of their peers.

Pets help teach children empathy by showing them how to show love and affection to those around them. This is important for children with autism because it helps them build relationships with others from a caring perspective.


  • Increases Responsibility 

A pet can also be a great tool for increasing the responsibility of young people with autism. Pet ownership can help build confidence and encourage independence. Autistic children who have pets and can help take care of them can increase their self-esteem while teaching them how to be responsible for their behavior.

This helps children with autism to learn that they are capable of taking care of themselves and this feeling of increased responsibility can carry over into many aspects of life. 


Autistic children may find it difficult to manage their emotions, but a pet can be a great way to help them learn how. Animals are great models for helping children learn how to control their emotions and strengths.

Pets can also help teach children how to become better at recognizing their emotions and controlling them. This can be particularly helpful for children who have difficulties with sensory processing or more intense temperaments because they are not often able to express the amount of emotion that they feel.


  • Increases Confidence 

The confidence that pets can provide for children with autism is also a great benefit of having a pet. Pets are nonjudgmental and help children to feel loved, no matter how they act or behave. This can be particularly beneficial for autistic children who have found it difficult to find people who love and accept them for who they are.

Pets can help build self-confidence in children with autism by building trust by being dependable and providing unconditional love. Autistic children can often have low self-esteem because of their lack of social skills or because of how they may act in public. Pets can fill a void for children who do not feel as if they have a place in society because they do not understand the concept of being a part of an "in-group.


  • Reduces Stress 

Pets can also help to reduce stress and anxiety in autistic children. Stress can be an extremely difficult thing for autistic children to manage because of their ability to feel their emotions intensely.

Things that may not bother other children can cause high levels of stress for autistic children who are very sensitive individuals. Pets can offer a companion during stressful situations and help kids with autism feel less anxious about being in a new situation or being around other people.


Pets are great companions to a child or an entire family and bring about so many benefits for all individuals involved. The things that your pet does for you may not be immediately noticeable but they are blessings you can appreciate every day. Children with autism who are allowed to have a pet in their life can grow to be much less anxious as they learn how to manage their emotions and building confidence on the inside.

Pets can also help children with autism develop compassion for others by showing them how to show love and affection. Pets can provide children with autism endless benefits as they learn to navigate their world. 

RECOMMENDED PRODUCT: E-book: Recognizing and Regulating Emotions


  • Thanks a lot for this article, it has taught me a lot. My grandson has autism and he also has sensory issues. We have a cat and we love her very much. He has learned to be gentle with her and show her love. I agree with you in all of these benefits. I shared this on FB and LinkedIn.

    Barbara Gonzalez
  • Is there any organization that provides a dog
    already trained? Or will train in accord with the
    child’s needs? Our granddaughter is deaf, has
    KBG Syndrome, and is autistic, plus ADHD.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you kindly.

    Dee Matheson
  • What a great article!

    Barbara Teike

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