Pet Therapy as a Treatment Process

Pet therapy is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process. Many kinds of pet could be used for pet therapy such as dogs, cats, birds, horses, rabbits, lizards, etc. Pet therapy is designed to promote improvement in human physical, mental, educational, social, emotional, motivational and cognitive functioning.

The Benefits of Pets Therapy

Physically, pet therapy can improve fine motor skills, wheelchair skills and standing balance

For mental health, pet therapy can increase verbal interactions between group members, increase attention skills, develop leisure or recreation skills, increase self-esteem, and reduce anxiety and loneliness.

For education, pet therapy can increase vocabulary, aid in long- or short-term memory and improve knowledge of concepts such as size, color, etc.

Related to motivation, pet therapy can improve willingness to be involved in a group activity, interactions with others and staff.

The other benefits are:

  • Pet therapy can also improve our empathy.
  • Pet therapy can help us focus on our environment, not just thinking and talking about ourselves and our problems.
  • We can learn nurturing skills from pet therapy.
  • Pet therapy can help present an air of emotional safety.
  • The presence of an animal provides a much needed entertainment to those watching it.
  • The presence of animals encourages socialization.

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