Benefits of Pet Therapy

It's well-known (and scientifically proven) that interaction with a gentle, friendly pet has significant benefits.

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IconPhysical Health:

  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Improves cardiovascular health.
  • Releases endorphins (oxytocin) that have a calming effect.
  • Diminishes overall physical pain.
  • The act of petting produces an automatic relaxation response, reducing the amount of medication some folks need.

IconMental Health:

  • Lifts spirits and lessens depression.
  • Decreases feelings of isolation and alienation.
  • Encourages communication.
  • Provides comfort.
  • Increases socialization.
  • Reduces boredom.
  • Lowers anxiety.
  • Helps children overcome speech and emotional disorders.
  • Creates motivation for the client to recover faster.
  • Reduces loneliness.

Pets can ease loneliness, reduce stress, promote social interaction, encourage exercise and playfulness, and provide us with unconditional love and affection.

One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is that most pets fulfill the basic human need to touch. Even hardened criminals in prison have shown long-term changes in their behavior after interacting with pets, many of them experiencing mutual affection for the first time. Stroking, holding, cuddling, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe us when we’re stressed. The companionship of a pet can also ease loneliness, and some pets are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost mood.

Bella is an 11 year old, beautiful black female LabradorBella is an 11 year old, beautiful black female Labrador with amber eyes and a gentle, calm temperament. Bella was adopted and is still very active at 11. She loves life, going to the beach, and just really enjoys being a Love On A Leash Therapy dog. She loves her belly rubbed... so much that we nicknamed her Belly Girl.

Kegnee is a 3 year old, 95 lb Golden-Doodle Therapy dog with Love on a LeashKegnee is a 3 year old, 95 lb Golden-Doodle Therapy dog with Love on a Leash. He volunteers for many different therapy programs, which involve children, adults and seniors and he loves to make everyone smile. He is a big teddy bear and loves to meet new people.

How pets can help to make healthy lifestyle changes

Adopting healthy lifestyle changes can play an important role in easing symptoms of depression, stress, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and anxiety. Caring for a pet can help with those healthy lifestyle changes by:

Pets can help to make healthy lifestyle changes
  • Increasing exercise. Exercise doesn’t have to involve boring repetition at a gym. Taking a dog for a walk, riding a horse, or simply chasing a kitten around are fun ways to fit healthy daily exercise into your schedule.
  • Providing companionship. Isolation and loneliness can make disorders such as depression even worse. Caring for a living animal can help make you feel needed and wanted, and take the focus away from your problems. Most pet owners talk to their pets, some even use them to work through their troubles.
  • Helping meet new people. Pets can be a great social lubricant for their owners. Dog owners frequently stop and talk to each other on walks or in a dog park. Pet owners also meet new people in pet stores, clubs, and training classes.
  • Reducing anxiety. The companionship of a dog can offer comfort, help ease anxiety, and build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world.
  • Adding structure and routine to your day. Many pets, especially dogs, require a regular feeding and exercise schedule. No matter your mood - depressed, anxious, or stressed - you’ll always have to get out of bed to feed, exercise, and care for your pet.
  • Providing sensory stress relief. Touch and movement are two healthy ways to quickly manage stress. This could involve petting a cat or taking a dog for a walk.
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