According to an article on sciencedaily.com, “Owning a pet dog reduces stress and significantly improves functioning in families who have a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).”
The University of Lincoln, UK, did a study funded by the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation and published it in the American Journal of Veterinary Behavior focused on the effects dogs have on families of children with autism spectrum disorder.
We all know that children with autism react well to animal-assisted therapy but this study was the first to take a look at how having a pet dog in the family affects friends and family members of those with autism as well.
Professor Daniel Mills, told reporters, “We found a significant, positive relationship between parenting stress of the child’s main caregiver and their attachment to the family dog. This highlights the importance of the bond between the carer and their dog in the benefits they gain.”
Parents of children with autism who also owned dogs experienced a continuing decrease in stress over time.
Parents of children with autism who are able to, should consider adopting a dog to help increase the emotional wellbeing of all family members.