If you’re considering fostering, you may be wondering, ‘can I foster if I have a pet’? This is a great question, and the answer is usually yes! In fact, a pet can be really positive for a foster child or young person, depending upon the circumstances.
A foster child or young person may have been removed from their biological family due to abuse, neglect, or other challenging circumstances. As a result, they may struggle with feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. One way to help foster children cope with these challenges can be through pet ownership.
In this blog, we'll explore some of the positive effects a pet can have on a foster child or young person...
Having a Pet in the Home Provides Comfort
Pets are great companions and can be a fantastic source of comfort. They don't judge or criticize and are always happy to see their owners. Having a pet can provide a sense of security and comfort for a foster child who may have experienced rejection or abandonment. The pet becomes a constant presence in the child's life, providing a stable and reliable source of love and affection.
Having a Pet in the Home Can Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Foster children may experience high levels of stress and anxiety due to the instability of their living situations. A pet can help to reduce these feelings by providing a calming presence. Studies have shown that petting a dog or cat can lower blood pressure and reduce stress hormones like cortisol.
University of Missouri-Columbia scientists discovered that human blood pressure dropped by approximately 10% around 15 to 30 minutes after petting a dog.* For a foster child or young person, having a pet to snuggle with can be a soothing and comforting experience.
Having a Pet in the Home Can Increase Self-Esteem
Foster children may struggle with feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth. Having a pet can help to boost their confidence and self-esteem. Caring for a pet and seeing the positive results of that care can give a child a sense of accomplishment and pride. In addition, pets provide unconditional love and acceptance, which can help a child feel more positive about themselves.
Having a Pet in the Home Can Teach a Child or Young Person Responsibility
Caring for a pet requires responsibility and commitment. For a foster child who may have experienced a lack of structure and routine in their life, having a pet can provide a sense of purpose and responsibility. Children who care for pets learn about the importance of regular feeding and exercise schedules, grooming, and hygiene. These skills can translate into other areas of their lives and help them become more responsible and self-sufficient.
Having a Pet in the Home Provides a Child or Young Person With Companionship
Foster children and young people may experience feelings of loneliness and isolation. Having a pet such as a cat or dog can provide a constant companion and a source of comfort. Pets can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and provide a sense of belonging. Additionally, pets can be a great way to make friends and connect with others who share similar interests.
Pets can have a significant positive impact on the lives of foster children and young people. If you are considering fostering a child and already owning a pet, this can certainly be beneficial. The suitability of any pet will be assessed in each individual application.
Our dedicated team is on hand to answer any questions about fostering and the process involved.
To make a start on your application or find out more, call us on 0800 389 0143 or contact us Contact Us | Nexus Fostering, and we’ll be in touch.