What is pet therapy?

We know all know that having pets in our lives is a great source of comfort, but did you know about the many benefits animals provide to those in nursing homes or care facilities?

Before working with Tiny Tails to You I worked as an Activities Assistant for a Alzheimer's care facility in Abilene, Texas. During that time, I interacted with residents and witnessed first-hand the power of pet-assisted therapy. As an Experience Leader at Tiny Tails, I was able to conduct numerous pet therapy sessions with multiple facilities across Austin. Pet therapy is proven to enhance the quality of life for residents and makes a tangible difference in their mental health. Here are some things I have learned about pet therapy and why it matters.

What is Pet Therapy

Pet therapy, or pet facilitated therapy, is any program in which people interact with animals to increase their mental and physical well-being. All sorts of animals, such as dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, pigs, and even horses are used during animal pet assisted therapy.  

Why Pet Therapy Works

Clinical research has shown that engaging with animals increases your overall health and well-being. Alison White, a licensed clinical social worker associated with the National Alliance of Mental Illness observed:

“Hugging and speaking with a pet who won’t judge you for your feelings or thoughts is cathartic and helps people get through rough times. Pets also reduce symptoms of anxiety or depression, giving people a reason to get up in the morning. Other benefits are unconditional love, acceptance, a ‘buddy’ that encourages physical activity, which leads to healthier lifestyles.” (1)  

Pet Therapy Benefits

The benefits of pet therapy are numerous for both patients’ physical health and mental health. Some of the most widely recognized benefits include:

- Lower blood pressure

- Provides comfort for those in pain

- Enhanced fine motor skills

- Decreased anxiety

- Overall stress management

- Feeling of connectedness to another being

- Reduced boredom

- Lifts patient (and caretaker) morale


Tiny Tails to You Pet Therapy Programs

Tiny Tails to You offers specialized pet therapy programs for children, teens, adults, and seniors. Our small lap-sized animals love human interaction making them easy to handle for all age groups and perfect for animal assisted therapy. Our senior pet therapy programs encourage reminiscing activities, which is especially meaningful for nursing home facilities who care for Alzheimer and Dementia patients. For children and teens, we provide food and treats to feed to our animals during the therapy sessions. This increases the level of engagement with younger patients and helps solidify a stronger bond with our animals.

Want to try a Virtual Pet Therapy?

Looking for a virtual option to enrich your residents or family members at home during quarantine and social distancing? Try a virtual pet therapy session! Give us a call at 512-423-5577 or email us at info@tinytailstoyou.com.

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1. https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/November-2016/The-Power-of-Pet-Therapy

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