The companionship of a pet can be an excellent way of bringing engagement and purpose, no matter your age. Spending time with your pet is a reliable way of defeating loneliness and isolation.
It brings companionship and comfort, promoting your overall health and wellness. It also plays a crucial role in reducing stress. In this article, we will discuss more about pet therapy and how it can be important for your well-being.
What is Pet Therapy?
If you have spent time with a dog or heard the rumble of a cat’s purr, you understand the powerful effect they have on a person. Spending time with a pet has many health benefits, irregardless of you age. Through pet therapy, animals interact with you to improve the quality of your life. It is important to note that pet therapy can occur in a wide range of settings. For example, it can be at home, in rehabilitation centers, retirement homes, senior’s homes, among others.
The animals used in pet therapy vary, they can be domesticated dogs and cats or other farm animals. When an animal is therapy-trained, they go through basic obedience courses and tend to be well socialized. Besides, they understand how to interact with humans of all ages, even the elderly. They form a very important part of healing for those involved any form of accident.
Types of Pet Therapy
There are different types of pet therapy. But before that, you need to know that therapy pets should always be insured. As mentioned earlier, these pets go through a training course and anything can happen during this training. Some can get injured or even contract diseases. If you’d like your pet to be insured, you can check out the various pet insurance policies offered by Bivvy. Below are the various types of pet therapy.
This is the most common type of pet therapy. Visitation therapy involves pets visiting your home or the elderly’s retirement homes.
With this type of therapy, you actually own the pet. This is an excellent option especially if you are busy but can care for a pet. You should perform the basic pet care chores like walking it, taking it for veterinary care, and grooming it appropriately.
This is a very intensive form of pet therapy. It is mainly reserved for seniors in need of extreme rehabilitation. In such cases, seniors are paired with highly sensitive animals like horses or dolphins. This therapy helps improve the physical skills and confidence levels of a senior.
Benefits of Pet Therapy
As mentioned earlier, there are many benefits of pet therapy. We have categorised them into holistic, physical and emotional benefits. Read on to find out!
Research shows that pet owners are less likely feel lonely, take less medication, visit the doctor less often, quicker recovery from illnesses, and cope better with stress. Another study showed that spending time with a pet initiates hormonal changes in the brain, reducing stress levels and increasing serotonin. No matter your age, pets offer physical, emotional, and mental benefits. Those at risk of isolation and loneliness are ideal for pet therapy.
Depending on the type of therapy being practiced, the physical benefits of pet therapy differ. However, below are the most common physical benefits of pet therapy:
- It increases the levels of exercise: When you spend time with a pet, chances of engaging in exercises are high. Therapy pets are trained to socialize and move around vigorously, engaging you in physical games.
- Lowered blood pressure: Spending time with a pet keeps you active and engaged. This reduces the chances developing diseases like blood pressure. Exercising keeps your body in good shape, enabling a healthy flow of blood.
- Reduced stress and anxiety levels: Pets are fun to be with. Spending time with them increases brain activity that leads to the production of serotonin, a chemical responsible for relaxing. Pets are also a great way to cope with grief and depression. You overcome these conditions faster with a therapy pet.
- Improved physical skills: Engaging in activities like horseback riding or swimming with dolphins can significantly improve your physical skills.
Discussed below are the various emotional benefits of pet therapy:
- Increased self-esteem and confidence: When you are in a good physical condition, you tend to feel good about yourself. Spending time with a pet gives you exactly that feeling. Furthermore, you will feel more confident and assured. This is very important especially if you have a history of self-esteem problems.
- Improved social skills: Therapy pets can help improve your social skills. You will have the confidence to interact with others now that you feel good about yourself. This goes a long way in improving the general quality of your life.
Now that you understand the importance of having a therapy pet, you should start planning on getting one. These pets are more than just animals— they can be your way out of depression, low self-esteem and physical challenges.