Depression. Anxiety. Loneliness. Illness. No matter what the human element is, not only do pets provide love, they provide holistic health improvements known as pet therapy. In fact, long-term care facilities, hospitals, and therapists have condoned this type of special therapy in the recovery process. Whether it’s lowering a person’s blood pressure or reducing the risk of heart disease, experts say that having a dog or cat in your presence adds paramount mental health benefits.
For instance, the soft touch of an animal can bring joy to someone who’s recently lost a pet or loved one. People in a long-term care facility may not have had close contact with an adorable pet in a very long time. In this case, pet therapy will bring a smile to their face.
Animals are a captive audience. After all, they provide unconditional love. They don’t hold a grudge, they don’t judge, and they’re forgiving. If a patient for instance is not speaking or if a patient is in pain, it may be too early to introduce a pet to their rehabilitation program but for those who are alert and interactive, playing with a pet may be the highlight of their day. Some hospitals actually have time set aside for owners to bring in their pets to bring delight and joy to the patients.
Yet another reason why pet therapy is a positive move towards the road to recovery? They don’t ask inappropriate questions. They don’t stare. They simply share love! Having a pet in the vicinity for pet therapy hopefully will help decrease the “whoas me” attitude a patient may internalize; rather, it gives them something special to focus on that’s positive, not negative. And it could help reduce anxiety during recovery or prior to an operation.
Now that pet therapy has been explored as it relates to patients, it’s only natural that having a pet impacts human health in a positive manner for another type of “informal” pet therapy. Studies have shown that senior citizens who own dogs go to the doctor less frequently for ailments than people who don’t own dogs. A couple of studies have shown that pet owners have lower blood pressure than those who don’t own pets.
Pet therapy in particular helps children deal with grief of a family member or even another pet. Pet owners may feel more confident and less likely to become a victim of crime when walking their dog or sharing their home with a dog. Another study has shown that pet owners have better psychological well-being. They also have shown to be in better shape than their non-pet owner counterparts; after all, walking their dogs means they’re walking as well! To the average pet owner, having a dog or cat in the house may equate to additional happiness, less feelings of isolation or loneliness, less anxiety, and greater social interaction thereby creating its own sense of pet therapy without even knowing.
At The Dog Bowl, nothing is more important than your pets’ health and well being. For more information about pet therapy, contact your local veterinarian or care facility.