Cheerful retired senior woman with wrinkles smiling while embracing her Beagle dog and enjoying time with pet at home

Benefits of Pet Therapy

Studies show that having a pet is good for seniors as it makes seniors feel better physically, mentally and emotionally. This is the reason why pet therapy also known as animal-assisted therapy is becoming more and more popular today.


In This Pet Theapy For Senior Article

What is Pet Therapy
Pet Therapy Program in Assisted Living and Nursing Homes
Physical Benefits of Pet Therapy
Emotional and Psychological Benefits of Pet Therapy

Interested in Pet Therapy

What is Pet Therapy?

Pet therapy treatment involves human and animal interaction. It utilizes trained animals to promote health and healing for patients, including seniors who are depressed, chronically ill and have disabilities. The pets used for Pet Therapy treatment provide affectionate and unconditional love to recovering patients, making it an excellent supplemental treatment.

Pet Therapy Treatment in Assisted Living and Nursing Homes

Some assisted living facilities and nursing homes offer pet therapy to help improve the health of seniors who are chronically ill and have disabilities. For seniors who suffer depression, pet therapy can be beneficial as it can help them forget about their problems, even for a short period of time. Having a responsibility to care for a pet helps seniors gain confidence, as they begin to feel useful again, thus improving seniors’ quality of life.

Some seniors may feel lonely and depressed because of the following reasons:

  • Family and friends of the senior have been so busy that they are not able to visit the senior on a regular basis.
  • Seniors have lesser activities now since they can’t be as active anymore as they used to be.
  • They miss their spouse or friends (same age group) who have passed away.

The feeling of isolation or being lonely or depressed is not healthy for people especially for seniors. Studies show that the health of seniors who suffer from depression, decline rapidly compared to seniors who are active, always around other people or with pets at home.
If you’re senior loved one has some physical, mental or emotional problems, you might want to talk to the senior care facility administrator about the benefits of pet therapy treatment. Pets that are involved in pet therapy are calm, friendly, loving, well groomed, well trained and are able to respond to stay, sit and lay commands.

Remarkable observations have been made when patients interact with pets. Seniors who undergo pet therapy treatment seem to smile more often and surprisingly have normal heart rate and lower blood pressure. Research and studies suggest that animal therapy treatment provides several benefits to people, including seniors. Through animal assisted therapy, seniors are able to develop a deeper companionship with their pets, which results to physical, mental and emotional benefits.

Health Benefits of Pet Therapy Treatment

Physical Benefits of Pet Therapy

Pet therapy treatment provides several physical health benefits to seniors like:

  1. Increased exercise and improved mobility. If the senior patient has a dog, he or she will need to walk dog everyday. Walking the dog everyday provides exercise and exercise leads to a healthier lifestyle.
  2. Normal heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduced stress. The ability to have something to pet or touch is very important to our physical health.
  3. Enhanced physical skills as seniors start to be active again. Pets encourage movement so it motivates seniors to keep moving and to stay active. Feeding, grooming and other ways of caring for pets increases seniors’ physical skills.

Emotional and Psychological Benefits of Pet Therapy

  1. Reduced loneliness, anxiety and depression. Giving senior patients an opportunity to interact and care for a pet during pet therapy sessions, helps improve the senior’s mood. Pets offer companionship, making it an effective way to prevent loneliness.
  2. Increased confidence. Caring for a pet helps increase patient’s self-esteem as they enjoy the animal interaction. They are able to once again feel useful as they are given some responsibility to care for an animal.
  3. Increase socialization. Participating in pet therapy, gives senior patients an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings with an animal, when they don’t want to share their emotions with friends or family members. Pets are good listeners and are not judgmental because they listen and give affection to people. Pet therapy also encourages seniors to interact more with other seniors, pet owners and other people.

Interested in Pet Therapy?

Due to the numerous health benefits of pet therapy, assisted living, nursing homes and other senior care facilities are starting to include pet therapy in their senior care program. If you feel that you or your elderly loved one can benefit from a pet therapy treatment program, be sure to contact the senior care facility’s administrator to get more details and to check program availability.

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Kate Allado, Senior Care ExpertAbout the Author: Catharine D. Allado is a Senior Care Expert and the COO of – A trusted and comprehensive online directory of Senior Care Homes such as Assisted Living, Nursing Homes and other types of Senior Housing in California, Florida, New York, Arizona and the rest of the United States. also provides FREE Assisted Living options to help seniors and families find the best Senior Housing on the planet!

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