Interacting with animals can build critical life skills. Studies have reported positive benefits of children reading aloud to dogs, while handling reptiles reduced communication anxiety in college students. Little is known about how domestic animal interaction could reduce communication-related anxieties in students in fourth through sixth grade. Findings revealed that when youth interacted with animals before giving a presentation, the interaction reduced anxiety toward public speaking, strengthened communication confidence, and made youth more excited about speaking. Specifically, a dog and rabbit were preferred by youth for reducing communication anxiety, whereas interacting with a turtle and bird made youth more nervous. The dog and rabbit provided two-way interaction that increased confidence and enthusiasm for speaking among 4-H’ers. College faculty teaching students pursuing careers educating youth should consider integrating animals that respond to human interaction into their courses as these may help reduce public speaking anxiety. If more novel animals are available for use (such as birds or turtles), faculty should consider hosting a “meet and greet” between students and animals to reduce anxiety prior to using the animals in a presentation.