How Pet Therapy Can Help To Alleviate The Symptoms Of Depression

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When it comes to treating depression, everybody has their own ideas of what works. Some people rely on anti-depressants or take St John’s wort, while other people choose to treat it holistically with yoga, meditation and homeopathy. However, there is another treatment that is really gaining in popularity, and that is pet therapy. In this article we are going to tell you a little more about it and let you know how you could use it to treat your own depression.

What’s Pet Therapy All About?

Pet therapy is the use of animals to help treat a condition. Pets are traditionally very healing to have around and they encourage lots of healthy emotions such as affection, warmth and selflessness. This can only be good for you. Pet therapy is also used for people that are housebound – often someone bringing a dog around for them to pet for a while is a highlight of their day. It is really healing to have an animal around, and people are starting to realize the power that this holds. Being around an animal is ever so therapeutic and it is becoming increasingly popular in the world of healing.

How Does It Work?

Somebody that needs the help will sometimes be offered pet therapy by their doctor. If you are put forward for the program you will be visited by a dog and its handler, and they will stay for a period of time (often up to an hour). You will be allowed to pet the dog, interact with it, even take it for a short walk. This is exceptionally therapeutic for the patient and it often leads to a faster recovery time. All of the animals that are used are trained to behave really well (much the same as guide dogs for the blind) and they will be up to date with their veterinary checks.

Who Can It Help?

Pet therapy is not just for treating depression. It is also being used for all sorts of other uses – for example is it very effective at calming somebody down who has a fear or anxiety about going to the dentist! It is also used in the treatment of cancer patients as well as the elderly and people with long-term health problems. It has been found to be beneficial pretty much whenever and wherever it is used, and it is gaining popularity with health professionals who are clearly seeing its effectiveness. It is said that pet therapy can even help to relieve pain – because people that are in a happy state generally have higher pain thresholds.

What Are the Risks?

The main problem is that pet therapy can’t be used too much in hospitals because of the sanitation problems associated. Pets carry germs which are not welcome in a hospital.

There is no doubt that spending time with an animal can significantly improve lots of symptoms associated with depression. If you are or someone you know is affected by depression then it could well be a viable treatment for you – it’s definitely worth looking into.

Featured images:

Jack Brown, the author of this article, works at, Pleasant Plains Animal Hospital, reputable pet care center in Staten Island, NY. He loves going fishing and enjoys his evenings with his family.


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