The Benefits of Pet Therapy
Updated: May 4, 2022
Pet therapy uses animal interactions to improve physical, mental, social and emotional functioning in people of all ages. Animal therapy focuses on using these animal interactions to help people recover from or better cope with health problems. Animal activities have a more general-purpose, providing entertainment, comfort and support with learning. Animals offer a new and exciting dimension to therapy, education and life, and pet therapy can have a range of benefits from increasing involvement within the group to reducing anxiety (Poleshuck, 1997).
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Animal therapy can help to improve the sense of wellbeing and quality of life as it is a fun activity that can be done as part of a social group, stimulating conversation and interaction to promote a home-like unit atmosphere (Ferreira, 2019). Meaningful activities that encourage engagement are important for people, especially those with dementia; animal therapy has been proven to be particularly beneficial. Animal therapy can help to improve short-term memory, trigger long-term memory and enhance communication skills, even in those with dementia (Yakimicki et al., 2019). Regular animal therapy sessions have also been shown to delay the progression of symptoms in people living with dementia, including agitation, aggression and depression (Kil et al., 2019; Yordy et al., 2019).