toll free: 844.955.3042
local tel: 561.464.6505
fax: 561.450.6637

RECO Intensive
140 NE 4th Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33483

The Advantages of Pet Therapy

Animal lovers, take note: Pet therapy happens to have significant advantages for mental health, and addiction recovery. Pet therapy, or animal therapy, is the act of spending time with animals or one animal to increase your mood or mental state. Oftentimes as little as 15 minutes with a pet can help with stress or anxiety, increase happiness, and overall boost your mood. In other cases, pet therapy is used to aid the subject for a physical reason, such as a guide dog or listening for heart palpitations. Ultimately, the bond animals share with humans is immense, and the benefits are incredible. 

Pet Therapy Shows Increased Mental Health and Provides Routine   

A great benefit of pet therapy is that animals can serve as mood regulators. Therapy animals catch signs of stress, anxiety, anger, and panic, and are quick to soothe their owner. Studies by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that patients who participated in pet therapy experienced a significant boost in mood, and even temporary alleviation of some physical ailments. According to HH Publications, pets have been proven to lower the level of cortisol (the hormone that makes humans stressed) and raise the level of serotonin (the hormone that makes people happy) in subjects who were stroking animals, cuddling, or just watching animals interact. 

Animal care also provides a set routine for those in recovery, as well as mental stimulation, and constant company. Animal care requires a routine of feeding, grooming, or walking with the animal to keep it healthy. By adhering to the needs of a pet, one can establish a structured routine as well as reap the benefits produced by animal interaction.

Types of Pet Therapy

It is possible to form a bond with a wide variety of animals and enjoy the therapeutic benefits. There are some unique benefits to different animals. Here are a few examples of pet therapy that could be available near you: 

  • Equine Therapy: Horses are incredibly strong and resilient animals. They’re also very smart and can form great bonds with humans. Their stature and countenance provide comfort and stability for equine therapy patients. They also require a great deal of care and maintenance, which provides routine and stability for those seeking equine therapy. Horses require a lot of attention, helping those who care for them to forget their challenges and focus on the needs of the animal.
  • Dogs: The most common therapy animal is a dog. Many are used as service animals, and with their keen senses and trainability, dogs are extremely helpful and communicative to humans. Dogs are also a common symbol of unconditional love and adoration for people, as many dogs, especially service dogs and therapy dogs, have a happy and loving disposition. 
  • Cats: Another common therapy animal is a cat. Cats are known to be wise, curious, playful, and even mysterious at times. Cats also have keen senses, and an affinity for predicting moods, as well as comforting anyone struggling. Cats share deep bonds with their owners and provide good company to those in therapy. 
  • Reptiles: Reptiles, such as snakes, turtles, and lizards, are known to be excellent companions and uncommon allies. Reptiles have very particular and special needs, depending on the species, allowing the person caring for them to forget their worries and focus on the care and growth of their pet. Reptiles don’t always share the emotional bond one will see in mammals, but their warmth-seeking nature can make them a comforting companion. 
  • Birds: Birds are known to be very loving, charismatic, and empathetic creatures. From parrots to chickadees, birds provide flight from everyday stressors. Some birds speak, while others interact with little games or an appreciation for the presence of a person. Many people have experienced bird therapy in nursing homes, hospital settings, and their own backyards around the bird feeder. 
  • Small Mammals such as Rabbits, Guinea Pigs, Mice, and Rats: Small, furry, cute little mammals make for great therapeutic companions. Their love for playing and relaxing makes them perfect for those looking for comfort. Their problem-solving skills and curious countenance can provide relief from every-day struggles. 

You don’t have to commit to a pet to enjoy the benefits of pet therapy. There are cases where owning a pet yourself can be more stressful than beneficial. Consult your local therapy center or health care center, and see if they have open hours for pet therapy. There are also universities, local libraries, and other local city departments that offer weekly sessions of pet therapy for any visitor. Be sure to check their COVID-19 regulations before you visit. 

If you feel like you’re struggling, pet therapy may be what you need. Recovery is hard and can feel scary and lonely. Animals provide a happy and calming companion for you, and can often help with resisting urges or falling into old habits. At RECO Intensive, we understand the need to try different therapies to fit your needs. Equine therapy is a viable option at RECO Intensive, as well as several other active forms, such as Adventure Therapy, Activity Therapy, Music therapy, and more. Our alumni have seen personal results with our Animal Rescue Program, as well as our Nature Healing Walks and our Community Service Projects. At RECO Intensive, we’ll explore your therapy needs to find a program and routine that best fits you. You’re important at RECO Intensive, and we want to work with you on your path to recovery. For more information, call us at (561) 464-6533 and get started with your specialized recovery today.

Recent Articles

Discover a better life and call our recovery helpline today.