Pet therapy uses the support of an animal to help treat or reduce symptoms of a condition. Animals can be selected to be used for pet therapy for a variety of reasons, including their friendliness, their ability to interact in a non-threatening way, or simply the companionship they provide. Pet therapy aims to improve physical, social, emotional, and mental function. It is also used to help with feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Animal companionship has been used for comfort across cultures throughout history. This therapy is used with people of all ages, but particularly with children and the elderly.
Pet therapy is used to help improve quality of life, Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, dementia, depression, high blood pressure, pain, stress, autism, diabetes, muscle strength, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain after surgery, spinal cord injury, schizophrenia, and psychological well-being.
Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale:Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for PET THERAPY are as follows:
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of pet therapy for these uses.
Pet therapy might help reduce stress and promote relaxation. This might reduce the risk of symptoms in stress-related conditions. Pet therapy might also reduce feelings of isolation
Aspects of pet therapy that involve physical touch might stimulate pleasure in
the brain, which encourages relaxation and well-being. Pet therapy might also
work by distracting patients from pain and activating comforting thoughts.
Pet therapy is LIKELY SAFE when used appropriately and when pet therapy does not take the place of proven treatments.
Some people might be allergic to certain animals used in pet therapy. Also, there have also been reports of pet therapy animals carrying diseases that have been transmitted to patients. Animals used for pet therapy should be always be screened by a veterinarian.
Pet therapy should not be used in place of standard treatments for diagnosed conditions.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of pet therapy during pregnancy and breast-feeding. However, there’s no reason to suspect safety concerns when used correctly.
Children: Pet therapy is LIKELY SAFE when used appropriately.
It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines.
Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.
Natural Medicines disclaims any
responsibility related to medical consequences of using any medical
product. Effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this
Natural Medicines monograph is accurate at the time it was published.
However, we cannot guarantee the information is error-free and disclaim
any liability or responsibility for any reliance on it. The information
is also not intended to be a substitute for medical or other
professional advice, and you should not use any product or substances
reference herein without consulting a medical professional. Consumers
and medical professionals who consult this Natural Medicines
monograph are cautioned that any medical or product related decision is
the sole responsibility of the consumer and/or the health care
professional. A legal License Agreement sets limitations on downloading,
storing, or printing content from Natural Medicines. Except for any possible exceptions written into your License Agreement, no reproduction of this monograph or any content from Natural Medicines is permitted without written permission from the publisher. Unlawful to download, store, or distribute content from Natural Medicines or this site.
For the latest comprehensive data on this and every other natural medicine, health professionals should consult the Professional Version of Natural Medicines. It is fully referenced and updated daily.
© Copyright 1995-2015 Therapeutic Research Center, publishers of Natural Medicines, Prescriber's Letter, and Pharmacist's Letter. All rights reserved.
Discover the different ways you can help
1-877 GO KOMEN(1-877-465-6636)
Give hope to others in your situation