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How pets can reduce stress for foster children.

We all know that stroking a pet feels nice, but did you know that it’s scientifically proven to feel good?

March 25 2021 - 4 min read

How pets can reduce stress for foster children.

We all know that stroking a pet feels nice, but did you know that it’s scientifically proven to feel good?

Studies have shown that when we stroke or cuddle a pet that oxytocin (our happy hormone) is released in our bodies which has the direct effect of lowering our anxiety and reducing stress, alongside other feel good hormones, serotonin and dopamine.

This is great news for children with pets, but can be even better news for a foster child moving in with a new family. It can be a stressful time moving to a new home, with unknown people.  The fear of the unknown, wanting to be accepted and loved and fearful if it doesn’t happen.  Then there are other worries, being unsure of the rules alongside the stress of leaving family members all add to the feelings of anxiety.

If a new foster home has a pet, they can become a go to for a child when they are feeling overwhelmed. The act of sitting calmly and stroking a cat, dog or rabbit can help the body to calm itself and provide a calming outlet for children to feel less stress and more secure.

It’s this that can lead to children forming attachments to pets more quickly than to adults too.
Not all children have the capacity to sit calmly with a pet and supervision is always needed between animals and children.

For all the benefits pets may provide, there arethings to consider if you are considering fostering alongside your pets.

Want to know more about fostering?

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Find out more in our series about the benefits of pets below.