Have you ever confessed your worries or thoughts to a pet and felt better for it? Animals are great for giving comfort to people because they don’t judge and will never reveal your secrets. No wonder they’re often used therapeutically for people struggling with physical or mental health concerns. Want to learn more about pet therapy and its benefits? Then read on.
What’s the purpose of pet therapy?
Pet therapy on its own doesn’t help to cure a disease. Rather, this approach aims to improve the well-being of a person struggling with their physical or mental health through positive interactions with a therapy animal. Some of the main objectives of pet therapy are:
- To improve the person’s quality of life
- To reduce their stress levels
- To better control their anxiety
- To help them learn to trust others
- To cheer them up
- To help them feel less pain
In short, pet therapy is a complement to medication and other medical treatments to promote healing.
Who can benefit from pet therapy?
No matter your age or condition, you may one day benefit from pet therapy, because it can help a wide variety of people, such as:
- People with a cognitive disease
- Those with neurodevelopmental disorders
- Children who are victims of abuse or other trauma
- People staying in the hospital
- Terminally ill people (palliative care)
- Elderly people with chronic illnesses
- People with disabilities
Which types of animals can be used for pet therapy?
When it comes to pet therapy, many people automatically think of dogs. Indeed, they make excellent therapists and assistants if they meet certain criteria (they should be docile, calm, socialized, etc.). In fact, dogs of all breeds and sizes can be trained successfully, as you’ll see if you visit the Zoothérapie Québec website.
Having said that, many other types of animals can be used for pet therapy, notably cats, rabbits, horses and even hedgehogs.
Pet therapy animals must be treated with the utmost care to make sure they’re in the best possible condition. For example, they should never work full time, as they need their rest and relaxation too. To ensure their well being, meetings with patients should be spaced out, especially if the session takes place in the daytime and the animal is nocturnal.
At Chico, we know that simply the presence of an animal in your life can reduce stress and make you happier. To stock up on food and accessories for your own little “therapist,” stop by one of our stores!