Pet therapy includes a range of animal assisted activities and therapies to offer comfort and emotional support to the patient. Pet therapy is a growing field that is now helping individuals recover or better cope with health conditions, such as cancer, mental health problems and heart diseases. The type of animal is selected typically depending on the severity of the patient’s health condition. Despite its growing popularity, there are several misconceptions associated with this form of therapy. Here are a few myths that should be debunked:
Many people presume that animal therapy only offers psychosocial benefits to patients but this is far from the truth. Spending time with your dog or any other pet can improve blood pressure and possibly even lead to an increase in physical activity. For example, the responsibility of taking your dog out for a walk encourages independent movement.
This increases your level of physical activity and improves motor skills, providing exceptional benefits to patients suffering from bone and joint related diseases, such as arthritis. Moving around also helps you maintain flexibility and strength. Through petting and playing, pet therapy reduces signs of stress, heart rate and may even help lower blood pressure.
Many people presume that pet therapy increases the risk of infections and the concept isn’t suitable for hospital patients as it may expose them to a range of health problems. Here’s where you are wrong: therapy pets go through extensive procedures and rigorous tests to ensure they are suitable for patients before entering a hospital. All the animals are checked for common diseases and illnesses. These pets have up to date vaccinations for parvovirus, rabies and adenovirus. All pets are trained by a professional animal trainer and are well cleaned before they enter the hospital.
There are several people who undermine the importance of pets and the emotional support they offer. This is far from the truth as Emotional Support Animals are becoming more popular. Taking care and spending time with a furry pal is known to improve self-esteem and boost confidence. Patients suffering from mental disorders often have trouble keeping track of reality, causing them to feel disconnected and detached from others.
They may often find it difficult to communicate their ideas and express themselves. Animals, on the other hand, ask for nothing but love, attention and companionship. Pets are loving creatures and offer comfort and reassurance to their owners. They offer emotional support and may also reduce the risk of depression.
Some people assume pets further push patients to isolation and discourage them from talking to other humans. However, this is not true as having a pet can actually help increase social contact. Taking your dog out for a walk at the park provides individuals the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. You may also have a brief chat with someone while waiting in line at the vet.
One of the many benefits of pet therapy is it helps boost confidence and self-esteem. Suffering from an injury or illness may cause loss of responsibility. Taking care of a pet adds a sense of purpose in one’s life and allows patients to spend their time more productively. They are happy to take on the responsibility of caring for a pet and feel more independent.
The above are just a few common myths and misconceptions associated with pets and pet therapy. Learn more about ESAs and benefits these types of animals provide on our website!