Is pet ownership the answer to preventing childhood anxiety and stress reduction? CDC research that was recently published suggests that this could be the case. Pets may be able to provide some protection against childhood anxiety and high levels of stress in a number of ways. Studies have shown that simply petting an animal or interacting with a pet can be a calming and soothing experience, helping the individual relax and lowering their stress and anxiety by a considerable amount. In fact many aging homes allow therapy dogs and cats because of the beneficial effects that the animals can have on patients and residents in these homes, so it makes sense that animals would offer benefits to children as well. Approximately one third of homes have a dog, and 3 out of 10 homes have a cat.
How can pet ownership help lower childhood anxiety and provide stress reduction in children? If a child has social anxiety pets can act as an ice breaker, starting a conversation when this may be very difficult because the child is anxious in social situations. Pets tend to be loyal and loving, providing a boost in self esteem for children, and these animals also provide companionship. Pets do not judge, bully, or say negative things so they are a safe alternative for children who may be shy and awkward in social situations. Animals provide true acceptance, loving us for who we are and failing to see our flaws or imperfections. Studies show that children who grow up with pets in the home also tend to have fewer emotional and mental health issues as they get older.