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6 Ways Children Benefit from Adopting a Special Needs Dog

Children love pets since they’re friendly, cute, and cuddly. So, it’s somewhat the case for many that parents and their children buy or adopt pets, especially dogs, in packs!

It sounds like good news, but there’s something to be noticed in this. What dog breeds are being bought or adopted the most? Or, more accurately, what kind of dogs aren’t being adopted as much?

On average, special needs dogs take a longer time to find a forever home–more than four times the average wait. Why does it take this long for these little cuties to find a home? Are there any advantages beyond the obvious, that is, saving the life of the dog?

It seems people might not quite understand the benefits of adopting a special needs dog for their children, so let’s go through a few of them:

1. Responsibility

disabled boxer in dog wheelchair

This is a quality that you’re most probably trying to instill in your child at a young age. They need to have at least some sense of duty as well as some control. Having a special needs dog in your home will likely help in this area. This is because the dog will depend on your and your children to perform some tasks that they’re unable to perform for themselves.

While you’ll obviously have to pitch in and pay as much attention to the dog as you can, it would be great to let some tasks be your children’s responsibility. Plus, it’ll serve them well later in life when greater duties need their attention.

2. Special Needs Dogs Teach Kids About Empathy

If deep need and dependency are something your kids have only seen in the movies, it might be a great time to adopt a special needs dog. It’s in the name anyway–they do have special needs.

In a world that’s as diversified as this one, no two groups share the exact set of troubles, and it’s a problem if one or both groups don’t know how to empathize with one another even without having to share the same plight.

Through close contact with the dog, your children will be in close proximity to the needs and ‘struggles’ of the dog. As they take care of your special needs dog, they might just learn empathy in the process.

Bonus point, your kids are likely impressionable and stand a chance of integrating the lessons they learn when taking care of the dog into their own character.

3. Emotional Intelligence

Small Dog Wheelchair

Ever thought of what you could do to help develop your child’s emotional intelligence? It turns out that adopting a special needs dog is a great way to do it!

Over time, all the care your child will have to practice for the dog will help them improve in the department. Since the task requires compassion on a daily basis, it’s most likely that your child will end up developing this compassion. Plus, when they sacrifice their playtime to carry out duties for the dog, they’ll feel like heroes!  

Having a dog that has special needs will help your kids feel special, too, as they tend to care for the dog, helping them gain pride and care in the process. In addition, it’ll also improve your child’s self-esteem. Nothing can make your kid (or even you) feel competent like starting and finishing a task. Better yet, the tasks involved in taking care of a special needs dog aren’t that complicated, hence it can be performed relatively easily.  

4. Keeps Your Children Occupied

Children are especially energetic. Well, most of them. It almost seems like they’re getting a special nutrient from food that you’re not! All the running around, climbing things, disappearing from sight doing no-one-knows-what, and all that extra unnecessary activities only you can name.  

Even though it seems they can’t get tired, you can and most probably already are. If that’s the case, getting a special needs dog will help you fill your children’s day with activities that are both helpful and nameable!

You can task the kids to playfully feed the dog with foods, like strawberries; you just have to teach them a few safety tips, which you can learn more here. They can also integrate the dog into their play routine. By doing so, you just might know where to find your kids each time you need them. 

5. Dogs Are Stress-Busters

Okay, so this one is for dogs in general. One of the best ways to help your child deal with stress and anxiety is to get them a dog!  

Dogs are great, non-judgy companions that can help your child calm down when they need it. They’re called man’s best friend for a reason.  

6. Special Needs Dogs Teach Children How to Nurture

Safe in Austin Rescue Ranch

If you want to give your kids practical lessons in nurturing something, getting them a dog that needs special attention might be a way to do it.  

Depending on your dog’s special needs, your kids will probably participate in walking your dog, fetching stuff for it if it’s unable to on its own, changing diapers, and any other activities necessary for the dog’s upkeep.  

If all of this sounds like having an additional baby in the house, that’s because it actually is like having an additional baby, except you get to have a lot of other tiny hands helping you around with the duties! 


As a parent, there are several important qualities you need to help instill in your children while they’re still young. Adopting a special needs dog can help your child go through the emotional growth they need to handle life in the future.  

Children who learn early to be responsible and are trusted with something as huge as life, even if it’s that of a pet, are likely to grow and be competent leaders. After all, every group needs its action, lady or man!

If that sounds like a journey you and your family are prepared for, then it might be a good time to think of adopting a special needs dog. And, it would really help you and the dog if you didn’t look at it as a mere learning aid but more as an extension of your family. It’s only fortunate that family gets to teach and help each other along the way.

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