How Do Pets Help Kids With ADHD?

Millions of children have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Symptoms include impulsive behavior, trouble maintaining focus, and hyperactivity. These symptoms eventually can lead to issues with self-esteem, and social problems. Having pets in the house can help alleviate these symptoms.



Research even suggests that kids with ADHD had low-stress levels when a therapy dog was present during their therapy sessions. However, this doesn’t mean that having pets around kids with ADHD is considered a treatment. It is a way to help them go through their everyday lives.

According to child development specialist Sabrina E.B. Schuck, “There is a lot of anecdotal evidence about the effectiveness of therapy dogs.”


Benefits Of Having A Pet Around A Kid With ADHD

For kids with ADHD, pets are considered to be excellent teachers and friends. “Scientific studies have shown having a pet results in lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, decreased anxiety and depression, decreased levels of stress in post-traumatic stress disorders, in personality disorders, phobias and results in overall improvement in mental health,” says Howard Chusid, Ed.D., LHMC, NCC. Pets can also help kids create essential and healthy habits. Below are the top 3 benefits a child with ADHD can get if he has a pet:


  • Self-Esteem

Most kids with ADHD have low self-esteem, and they tend always to feel that they are alone. Having a pet around them can lift their confidence, and it may have a domino effect on their lives.


  • Time Management Skills

As your kid needs to make food for the pet, clean the pet’s wastes, and play with the pets, it can create structure and maintain a routine for your kid. Also, having a pet can help your kids be responsible.


  • Unconditional Love

Kids with ADHD have difficulty in social interactions and having a pet which gives them unconditional love can uplift their moods and feelings.




The Best Pets For Kids With ADHD

You need to think of a lot of things when choosing the right pet for your kid. Not all kids with ADHD will prefer a furry friend. Also, you should not bring pets into your home with the goal of being a treatment for your kid because they are not.


If your child is very active and likes the outdoors, consider getting a dog that can match his energy. Your child can burn off his extra energy by walking and playing with a dog. A child who prefers to be indoors but is still playful can be a possible cat owner. A fish also has a calming effect. Do not forget to consider the allergies that your kids may have.


Preparing Your Kid For A Pet

There are a lot of videos now on the internet showing how parents surprise their kids with pets. It is fun to watch but, it is not a good idea for kids with ADHD. They may have problems with the transition.




Your child might be excited if he knows that he will be getting a pet, but he might quickly lose interest. It is essential that your kid is part of the process. Take your kid to shelters, or pet shops, and let him play with pets first.


Having a pet is fun and thrilling, but it comes with responsibility. As what Donna Krutka, MD said, “Remember, the process of responsibility for the child is key in this process, so the parent has to be insistent that the child has to be in charge of the duties.” The developing relationship between your child and pet is going to be special, but you should also be careful in choosing the right pet for your child.