Pet Therapy: How It Works, Benefits and More
Time to read 3 min
Time to read 3 min
It’s no secret that pets bring immense joy. Anyone who has spent time with a loving dog or felt the soft vibrations of a cat’s purr knows that animals have a powerful effect on us.
Recent scientific research shows that our pets are more than just happiness-inducing buddies. They can actually contribute to our well-being and even boost our physical strength too. This is why pet therapy is a popular and effective form of therapy.
Pet therapy, also known as animal-assisted therapy, uses animals to help people manage, recover from, or boost their physical and mental health.
Research shows (like this study on creating a therapeutic and healing environment with a pet therapy program) that when people regularly play with or interact with animals, they experience a wide range of health benefits.
Did you know?
Among therapy animals, dogs are the most common, and for good reason!
According to Dr. Ann Berger, a researcher and physician at NIH Clinical Center, dogs possess an uncanny ability to be present and affectionate, making them invaluable companions.
“Dogs are very present. If someone is struggling with something, they know how to sit there and be loving. Their attention is focused on the person all the time.” - The Power of Pets from News in Health
How pet therapy works depends on the goals, condition, and type of aid a person needs. There are 3 basic types of pet therapy:
People of all ages can benefit from pet therapy. From bedridden patients to more active ones, pet therapy caters to a wide range of needs. The presence of a pet brings comfort, entertainment, and a welcome distraction from anybody dealing with physical, medical, or emotional challenges.
Not quite! While puppy therapy shares numerous mental benefits with pet therapy, there are some distinct differences:
Pet therapy is great, but it is not for everyone. Some people simply do not like animals and being around a pet may increase their stress level.
Patients with weak immune systems also have to be very cautious about their contact with pets, in case of any asymptomatic infectious diseases the pet may be carrying.
Pet therapy is offered across North America.
Here are some resources you can use to help you find pet therapy in your area:
Dogs are the most common pets used in pet therapy. However, other species such as cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and horses can also be used in pet therapy.