Pet therapy uses spending time with animals as a treatment to help people with their physical and mental health. There are so many cases in which pet therapy can be widely beneficial. Depending on the function of the treatment, different animals can be used, including dogs, horses, rabbits and birds. Animal-assisted therapy is often used in combination with other therapies.
Pet therapy is one of many innovative ways in which to help treat conditions like anxiety and stress and, much like simply cleaning your office space (find out more) and decluttering other aspects of your work-life, can have profound benefits
What Is Pet Therapy?
Pet therapy involves interacting with professionally trained dogs, horses, birds and other animals to help with a range of health conditions. Animal therapy includes various treatments that use animals to help people cope with and recover from multiple physical and psychological health conditions.
One of the main aims of pet therapy is reducing stress and facilitating a more balanced mental and emotional state. Animal-assisted therapy is often used alongside other treatments, such as occupational or physical therapy.
How Can Pet Therapy Work?
Animal therapy can help in different ways depending on the condition and the type of support that a person needs. These positive interactions with animals can provide a range of benefits for both the mind and body.
Mental Health Benefits
Interacting with a friendly animal and forming a bond with them can produce a calming state for many people. Pet therapy is successful at improving motivation and the general mood of the person.
It is also an excellent tool to reduce boredom and distract patients from the awareness of any physical pain. The animal relationship can provide much-needed companionship to combat loneliness and increase interest in social interactions.
The mental heath benefits of pets have in recent years been highlighted by the increased numbers of companies that now allow pets in their offices; from companies that help people borrow money (Proper Finance) to digital agencies and creative companies throughout the UK.
Physical Health Benefits
Some forms of animal therapy also help with physical conditions. As a physical treatment, animal therapy works to increase body movement and activity through walks and play. An animal can be a great motivation for someone to get more exercise and do the training required to improve their motor skills.
For a patient with Parkinson’s disease or recovering from a stroke, this can help them regain some motor skills and stay motivated in their physical and occupational therapy. This will lead to reduced pain levels and more comfort for the patient.
Who Might Benefit from Pet Therapy?
Animal therapy can be helpful for people with a variety of health and mental health issues. The wide range of physical and psychological benefits make pet therapy valuable for aspects of conditions such as:
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic pain
- Parkinson’s disease
- Heart failure
- Pain from cancer treatment
- Post-operative recovery
- Recovery after a stroke (or another condition that causes a person to lose motor skills)
There are numerous instances and institutions where pet therapy can be widely beneficial. It is becoming more and more common for facilities to take on their own therapy animals allowing them to offer on-site pet therapy programs.
You can find therapy pets in care homes, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, dental surgeries and schools.