Pet therapy, or animal-assisted therapy, is a unique treatment beneficial for a wide variety of ailments and conditions. Pet therapy uses animals in a supervised way to interact with a patient to treat certain conditions. Many people have instinctively known that spending time with a pet can reduce anxiety and stress and positively affect their lives. However, recently there have begun to emerge scientific studies on the benefits of animal-assisted therapy. According to the National Institutes of Health, interacting with pets can lower blood pressure, reduce cortisol levels, and improve happiness. Below are several ways animal-assisted therapy helps our patients here at Peristyle Residences in New Orleans, LA.
There might not be a better-suited group of people who can benefit from pet therapy than seniors. According to the University of California San Francisco, nearly 40% of seniors experience acute loneliness. Interacting with a trained pet can be an excellent way to overcome this problem. Pets provide companionship and unconditional love while not requiring anything in return, thus helping to alleviate loneliness and depression.
Pets are companion animals and serve as social support, causing those interacting with pets to experience reduced stress levels and anxiety. As reported by Human Animal Bond Research Institute, the presence of a therapy dog was found to significantly decrease patients’ anxiety levels, in addition to lowering their blood pressure. One reason animal-assisted therapy helps with anxiety is that giving love and affection to another being, especially an animal, takes our minds off our own worries and troubles.
Helps Treat Trauma
Pet therapy has been shown to have calming and healing effects on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients. As reported by the National Library of Medicine, in one study on the impact of dogs with trauma patients, psychologists noted an 82% reduction in symptoms. Often trauma patients are unable to talk about the incident(s) causing their emotional wounds. Pet therapy allows the patient to talk through the animal. By reliving the experience through the animal’s point of view, the patient can express the trauma, enabling them to talk about it and ultimately work through it (i.e., the rabbit felts scared when…, the dog felt anxiety when…).
Our Pet Therapy Process
Pet therapy is an excellent way to have these benefits for people who may not have a pet of their own. At Peristyle Residence, we administer pet therapy under the supervision of a medical professional who tracks how well the therapy is progressing. The pet is well trained by a handler and is very comfortable interacting with new people. We cater to the individual needs of the patient to achieve the best outcome possible. Contact Peristyle today to learn more about pet therapy treatment in New Orleans, Louisiana.