The Benefits of Animal Therapy

 Different animals, such as dogs, cats, or horses, all have one thing in common. They all provide humans with unconditional love and affection.

This trait makes our furry friends perfect for animal therapy. And it’s certainly no secret.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world—from people battling cancer to children who are afraid of going to the dentist—reap the benefits of animal therapy on a daily basis in order to live a happy and healthy life.

Would you or someone you know benefit from animal therapy?

Check out a few of the most common reasons people seek out the comfort of therapy animal companions.

Anxiety

If you’ve ever noticed that you feel better when you’re around your pet, you’re not the only one.

Many doctors and scientists claim that petting an animal releases “feel good” hormones into your bloodstream, which make you feel calm and relaxed. Many studies also claim that the action of petting an animal helps lower blood pressure.

These things combined help the body relax—something very important for someone who suffers from anxiety.

If you’re ever feeling anxious, and you have a pet in your home, trying spending a little time curled up on the couch with your furry buddy…it may help!

Warning: If you ever find yourself suffering from an anxiety attack and the comfort of an animal doesn’t help, contact a friend, family member, or your doctor immediately for help.

Trauma

If you or a loved one has ever experienced some sort of trauma in life, you know how hard it can be to pick up the pieces and move forward.

Healing from trauma—whether it be physical, mental, or emotional—takes time, patience, and love.

The good news…most of our fluffy friends are experts at providing unconditional love and affection. Not to mention, as long as some petting is involved, most animals are willing to lie down with their owners (or the people they are visiting) and provide support as long as it’s needed.

There’s nothing like having a loyal buddy to stick with you when the times are rough.

Depression

When people fall into a depression due to illness, life-changing events, stress, etc., it can be very lonely.

Yet, despite the loneliness, it’s not common for people who are depressed to have the desire to socialize with others. Time spent in isolation can make depression worse.

It’s an awful cycle of feeling sad and lonely—a cycle no one should have to experience.

Therapy animals are great for people who are depressed because they open up a low-pressure outlet for socialization. They provide people with a “friend” during the times they need companionship most.

Even better—because animals require exercise and time outside—they can even help people get up and moving who would otherwise be confined to their bed or couch.

An Extra Set of “Paws”

Aside from emotional support, many people use therapy animals if they have a disability or are recovering from an illness, as an extra set of “paws” around the house.

Dogs can be trained to retrieve items, call people in case of emergencies, detect if an owner is going to have a seizure, and so much more.

Cats, with their keen sense of smell, can also be trained to sniff out danger and warn their owner if a medical emergency is about to occur.

Even horses—typically miniature horses—can be trained and used as “guide services” for the blind.

It’s truly incredible what our four-legged friends are capable of.

If you or someone you love enjoys animals and is in need of emotional or physical support, ask your doctor if a therapy animal would be appropriate!

Do you have a therapy pet? Tell us about your furbaby in the comments below!

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