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 Comprehensive Database 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.
There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.
There are no known interactions with foods.
The appropriate or safe use of pet therapy depends on several factors such as the condition being treated or the person administering the treatment. Be sure to seek and follow relevant directions from your physician or other healthcare professional before using this treatment.
The basic purpose of pet therapy is to provide simple companionship. The most commonly used animals in pet therapy are dogs, which allow for the best level of interaction. However, cats, birds, fish, horses, and other animals have also been used for therapeutic purposes.
Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA), Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT), Animal Companionship, Animals In Human Therapy, Canine Visitation Therapy (CVT), Companion Animal Therapy, Pet-Assisted Therapy, Pet-Facilitated Therapy.
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 monograph is accurate at the time it was published. Consumers and medical professionals who consult this 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 this Database. Except for any possible exceptions written into your License Agreement, no reproduction of this monograph or any content from this Database is permitted without written permission from the publisher. Unlawful to download, store, or distribute content from this site.
For the latest comprehensive data on this and every other natural medicine, health professionals should consult the Professional Version of the Natural Medicines. It is fully referenced and updated daily.
© Copyright 1995-2018 Therapeutic Research Faculty, 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