Pet therapy, also known as animal-assisted therapy, is a treatment technique that uses animals to help patients with various health issues or disabilities. The primary goal of pet therapy is to improve and enhance a person's social, emotional or cognitive development. Animals primarily used in pet therapy are domesticated house pets, such as dogs and cats.
Pet therapy has proven beneficial for treating patients with a wide range of health conditions, including depression, heart disease, anxiety and cancer.
Reasons for Pet Therapy
The main purpose of pet therapy is to help patients recover from, or better cope with, a serious health problem that requires a stay in a hospital, long-term care facility or another rehabilitation center. Animals and humans can truly develop special, meaningful bonds and pet therapy is used to provide joy and companionship to patients.
Benefits of Pet Therapy
Pet therapy is designed to be positive and uplifting for patients of all ages since the presence of an animal is often a healing force. Pet therapy can be used effectively to reduce pain, anxiety, and depression. Some of the many benefits of pet therapy include:
- Stress reduction
- Reduced depression or loneliness
- Increased mental stimulation
- Greater motivation to make a quick recovery
- Diminished physical pain
- Improved motor skills and focus
- Increased self-esteem
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Increased willingness to join in social activities
Candidates for Pet Therapy
Nearly any patient suffering from a serious health condition or disorder may benefit from pet therapy. Patients who have severe allergies may not be good candidates for pet therapy.
Results of Pet Therapy
While the long-term success of any pet therapy program depends on the individual patient, most programs are considered highly effective for participants. Many patients feel reinvigorated or mentally and physically healthier after taking part in pet therapy. In addition, pet therapy can benefit family members and friends of the patient, since the program usually improves the patient's overall quality of life.
To learn more about our Pet Therapy Services, please contact us today at 516.431.2600.