Pet therapy is a form of treatment meant to help people suffering from various types of ailment, mostly focused on mental health. Pet types included in this form of therapy may range from birds to cats to dogs, which are among the most common forms of pets used in therapeutic settings. Pet therapy may take place in a structured environment or a pet therapy animal may live with a client full-time to offer round-the-clock comfort and support. This form of therapy has received more attention in recent years because of its use for soldiers returning from combat in the Middle East with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Pet therapy can help to overcome symptoms of PTSD with the help of support animals that react when a person is emotionally triggered and helps them to calm down and regain control.
The Animals Used in Pet Therapy
Animals utilized in pet therapy are specifically trained to work with the person for which they are providing support. This means that these animals are trained for the following:
- Conditioned to engage in behavior that is comforting
- Trained to be affectionate
- Taught to mitigate stress
- Pet therapy can even help with physical conditions, as people are more likely to recover from ailments when they feel more optimistic and are less stressed about their circumstances.
Support animals provided through pet therapy offer this kind of impact and have been used in patients dealing with everything from cancer to heart disease.