Are Dogs Good For Autistic Children?


It was back to the Sunday routine of going to my parents house this week. After not going last week. When I was there I found myself googling, “are dogs good for autistic children?” The reason being there has been talk of us possibly getting a dog.

It’s not something that is in the pipeline to happen immediately, and I just wanted to have a bit of a look at what information I could find. I found myself reading up on service dogs and therapy dogs. I’d heard them mentioned before, but this was the first time I’d read up on them.

It was fascinating, but we’d be looking at just getting a “normal” dog. I make no secret of the fact that I’d love to have a dog. I was brought up around dogs, and absolutely love my parents dog Mack. When I still lived with my parents, I used to go out with our dog Dylan for hours. I do miss that a lot.

We love animals

I come from a family that loves animals, and that’s certainly been passed on to Jack & Lily. They both love spending time with Mack, and my brothers dog Henry. But Jack especially, there are visible benefits from him being around a dog.

Although he gets excited around dogs, as far as anxiety goes, it calms him a lot. So would having his own dog keep him calmer at home? Having Dylan when I lived with my parents certainly helped with my mental health. Though it’s different with Jack, I do think it would help him too. 

It would give him some companionship, something to love and look after. That unconditional companionship and friendship, is something I think Jack really needs. 

Whilst also giving us all a reason to get out for some nice walks. Similar to how Jack never takes it out on his sister, when in a meltdown. He also never takes it out on animals that may be around.

It would be so helpful in so many ways. Unfortunately as we live in a rented property, it’s not as simple as just going and getting a dog. We have to get permission first, and it could involve an increase in rent. The rent is high enough as it is. So we will have to think about it.

We’d love to hear about your pets

There are lots of positive stories about dogs and autistic people, so that feeling of it being such a positive thing for Jack. Really makes me want to do it. I’d love to hear of any positive steories about autism and pets, or even negative ones where it didn’t work out. Perspective is always important. If your not living around autism, we’d still love hear about your pets, Jack and Lily always like to hear about people’s pets. So leave a comment below if you’d like to share what pets you have.

If you don’t have a dog but are thinking about getting one, click here to view an excellent post 102 scientific benefits of having a dog, by fluentwoof.com. It’s a great read, and if this doesn’t convince you to get a dog, nothing will. Then of course there is the question of what type of dog to get? Any dog can be trained to be a great family pet, but some breeds are definitely more suited than others. Like my personal favourite the Collie. For comprehensive information on this, I recommend reading this article by Your Dog Advisor, best dogs for children. There’s lots of information, and they list the best dog breeds to have with children. As always, thanks for reading.

Dad Does Autism

Here’s a short 30 second video jack made of walking with Mack, despite only being short, it gives a real insight to Jacks personality

My name is Adam. I live with my partner Natalie, and our 2 children Jack and Lily. Both children are autistic, it is now my mission to show what life around autism is like. Spread the awareness and gain the acceptance that autistic people deserve.

18 thoughts on “Are Dogs Good For Autistic Children?

  • March 10, 2020 at 2:24 pm
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    We have a German Shepard and he is great at getting me though my anxiety attacks so I would think think dogs would be great for children who are autistic. Hope you are able to get one.

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    • March 10, 2020 at 2:37 pm
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      That’s cool, when I first had mental health and anxiety troubles in my early 20s, my dog definitely helped me get through it.

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  • March 10, 2020 at 4:59 pm
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    I’ve got a boxer dog, love him to bits.

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  • March 10, 2020 at 8:30 pm
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    I’m a cat person myself 😂

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  • March 10, 2020 at 11:04 pm
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    Awe yes! I am a huge animal person too! Although, we don’t currently have a dog, we do have a cat though. Pets are so much fun!

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    • March 11, 2020 at 8:33 pm
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      Yeah, I’ve had some sort of pet for the majority of my life, I don’t like not having something in the house.

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  • March 11, 2020 at 8:18 pm
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    Rented accommodation and pet policies are so annoying, especially when it comes to animas you can’t keep in a cage. I hope you can find a solution if having a therapy dog would be beneficial to your family

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    • March 11, 2020 at 8:34 pm
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      Yeah, they were ok with us having guinea pigs, and some won’t even allow that, so at least there’s hope.

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  • March 12, 2020 at 5:32 am
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    I’m a dog lover and had a wonderful dog.

    I know of an autistic girl who got a service dog that was very helpful to her. These dogs are fantastic and also very expensive.

    I know of an autistic boy whose family has always had dogs. He tolerates them but keeps his distance.

    I know an autistic boy whose parents love dogs and even had some show dogs before they had kids. But the autistic boy is afraid of dogs (they are too unpredictable and noisy for him) so there are no dogs in that family now.

    I think it depends on the child and how he or she reacts to dogs.

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    • March 12, 2020 at 10:04 am
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      A great post highlighting one of the most important things to remember when it comes to autism. Every single person is different. It’s not one size fits all. Thank you for sharing.

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  • March 12, 2020 at 12:22 pm
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    I don’t have pets due to my living situation but I can see how they would be a comfort, a friend and a companion on so many levels, making life easier! A nice, calm type of dog seems like it would be ideal.

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    • March 12, 2020 at 1:02 pm
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      My parents dog isn’t calm, he’s almost hyperactive, which my kids like. He might be to much for some, but he very friendly and enjoys being made a fuss of, which is definitely needed.

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  • March 12, 2020 at 1:34 pm
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    My severely ADHD child has a dog and he is essential to her emotional well being. When she is raging or when the “no you can’t cut you own hair” sounds more like “I don’t want you to be happy,”he is the completely loyal individual who can bring her down. When she’s upset, he will sit with his head in her lap for hours, letting her rub his soft ears.

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    • March 12, 2020 at 8:01 pm
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      That’s so cool, and exactly what I’m thinking, especially for Jack, but probably Lily as well. Thanks for sharing that.

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  • March 30, 2020 at 4:16 pm
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    I’ve always believed that children and animals are a match made in heaven and I’d imagine even more so for autistic children. Animals are a safe space, they don’t judge, they just accept. If you do get a dog I’m sure both Jack and Lily would love him/her every bit as much as you 🙂 We have cats and they are the worlds BEST de-stressers! x

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    • March 30, 2020 at 7:32 pm
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      So true, they love cats as well, but im a dog person myself, so I’m trying to steer them towards the dog 😂

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  • March 31, 2020 at 1:09 pm
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    Animals are good for everybody, we can learn much from them.

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    • March 31, 2020 at 6:31 pm
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      We absolutely can 👍

      Reply

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