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Benefits of Pets and Pet Therapy

From mental health to physical health, animals today are helping people in more ways than ever before, and not just as registered service animals or guide dogs. It is not uncommon anymore to see a Therapy Dog visiting a nursing home or school, for example, or you may come across a physical therapist who uses a canine companion to help motivate her patients. Whether a certified therapy animal or not, though, pets in general have an amazing impact on our physical and mental well-being. Here are just a few examples:

Mental:

· Lifts spirits and lessens depression

· Decreases feelings of isolation and alienation

· Encourages communication

· Provides comfort

· Increases socialization

· Reduces boredom

· Lowers anxiety

· Helps children overcome speech and emotional disorders

· Creates motivation to aid in faster recovery, either mentally or physically

· Reduces loneliness


Physical:

· Lowers blood pressure

· Improves cardiovascular health

· Releases endorphins (oxytocin), which have a calming effect

· Diminishes overall physical pain

· Petting an animal produces an automatic sense of relaxation, which can reduce the amount of medication a person needs


Physical Therapy:

· Increases joint movement and improves recovery time

· Maintains or increases motor skills

· Provides motivation to move, stretch, and exercise longer

For more information on Therapy Dogs and Certification, visit Therapy Dogs United.



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