Why Pet Therapy works: 8 surprising benefits

Many people know the joy and reward of caring for a pet. But not everyone understands just how beneficial that relationship can be to the pet owner. Did you know that, historically, pets and people have demonstrated therapeutic relationships for centuries? According to Complementary Health Practice Review, these relationships have been around for over 12,000 years.

You love and care for your pet and your pet gives you a sense of purpose. But the benefits aren’t just emotional— as Harvard Health Publications found: “Studies going back to the early 1980s support the idea that dogs—and other pets—have enormous health benefits for people. Pets have been shown to lower blood pressure, improve recovery from heart disease, and even reduce rates of asthma and allergy in children who grow up with a Fido or a Frisky in the house. Pets also improve people’s psychological well-being and self-esteem.”

The American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias found that older adults suffering from Alzheimer’s who participated in Pet Therapy showed statistically significant decreases in agitated behaviors and a statistically significant increase in social interaction.

Studies from the American Journal of Critical Care found similar successes with heart failure patients. The group that visited with therapy dogs for just 12 minutes had significantly greater decreases in pulmonary pressure readings than the group with no pet interaction.

Why Pet Therapy works:

  • Emotional benefits
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved recovery
  • Reduced asthma
  • Reduced allergies
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Increase in social interaction

Some Aperion facilities offer Pet Therapy, contact your nearest facility to find out if they offer this service.