5 Powerful Benefits of Pet Therapy
Humans and their pets have a long history dating back tens of thousands of years to when we first domesticated the wolf, the predecessor of the modern dog. Over time, a mutually beneficial connection grew to encompass friendship in addition to hunting together and providing protection. According to recent studies, this ancient link with a pet supplied the owner with additional health and well-being benefits, including stress alleviation.
While humans have long cherished animal companions, the therapeutic advantages of pets are just now becoming more well recognised. What is pet therapy, exactly? Pet therapy can be classified into two groups, according to the Mayo Clinic: animal-assisted therapy and other animal-assisted activities:
- Animal-assisted therapies adhere to patient-specific programmes, aiming to achieve specified therapeutic goals and benchmarks.
- Animal-assisted activities are typically delivered by volunteers bringing animals to visit patients and residents in hospitals, nursing homes, and other care facilities.
Pet therapy benefits people of all ages, whether it is derived from more formal animal-assisted treatment or less strict animal-assisted activities. People can benefit from pet therapy in the following five ways:
Assists in the reduction of stress and anxiety
The potential of pet therapy to reduce stress and anxiety is one of the most renowned of all of its benefits. Pets and therapy animals provide reassuring physical engagement and touch. These animals provide unconditional comfort and companionship, assisting people with everyday difficulties as well as those suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, loneliness, addiction, or other mental health issues. Animal engagement, according to research, lowers blood pressure and aids the release of endorphins, oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine.
Pet therapy also aids in the development of people’s self-esteem. When a person looks after a pet, he or she assumes responsibility for feeding, caring, and sheltering it. Having a dog, for example, necessitates going for walks, which provides exercise for both the owner and the pet. A child who participates in therapeutic horseback riding may learn about horse care as well as new riding techniques. Fulfilling these obligations increases one’s self-worth, which can boost one’s confidence in other areas of life.
Pet therapy, whether in the form of pet ownership or participation in animal-assisted therapies or activities, provides companionship in addition to self-confidence. Bonding happens when an animal is walked, talked to, or petted. Animals are aware of their owners’ thoughts and feelings and respond with unconditional love and support. People and animals form friendships as a result of increased exposure to one other through therapy visits, walks, outings to dog parks, and other activities.
Improves physical well-being
While pet therapy lowers blood pressure, increases endorphin production, and reduces stress and anxiety, it can also help with physical health in other ways. Pet ownership has been shown in studies to improve the survival rate of patients with cardiac problems. Pet ownership is also recommended by the American Heart Association as a means to prevent or lessen the severity of the cardiovascular disease. Reduced pain in postoperative and fibromyalgia patients has also been connected to animal-assisted therapy and activities. Pet therapy also motivates people to exercise, resulting in healthier and more active lifestyles.
Provides a unique perspective
People with a variety of physical and mental health disorders may benefit from including pet therapy as part of their overall health care strategy. Medicine can lower blood pressure, lessen the risk of a heart attack, and alleviate anxiety symptoms, but it can’t replace companionship or the physical contact that pet therapy can provide. Integrating animal-assisted therapies and activities into daily life can have a wide-ranging impact on people’s lives, raising confidence, offering purpose, and increasing enjoyment.
Regular sessions with professionally trained animals and their handlers are part of animal therapy. Its goal is to assist people in dealing with both physical and mental health issues.
Animal therapy may be recommended and administered by doctors or mental health specialists for a variety of problems, with different goals in mind for each person.
Alternative therapies are available for those who do not love animal therapy or have other reasons to avoid it.
The Last Journey promotes physical and mental well-being. Seeking professional assistance is a positive step toward self-care. It’s past time to end the stigma that still exists surrounding mental health and begin taking care of ourselves and others. Contact us to avail of our services today!