Puppy Pals – Pet Therapy
Puppy therapy consists of bringing dogs to patients in the hospital – or nursing home residents, or students in schools, etc. – in order to reduce stress, fear, and anxiety. This method has worked successfully and is practiced worldwide, with a number of advantages.
Puppy therapy is known to have both an emotional and physical impact on patients. A 2002 study found that pets who visit hospitals provide stress relief, normalization of hospital milieu, generation of positive rapport and feelings, and the increase of satisfaction and morale for patients as well as their parents. The therapy has both relaxing and calming effects, which greatly helps children before they go into surgery. It is also known to correspond with appropriate heart rate and respiratory changes. Children who have puppy therapy are known to have less anxiety and stress than someone who has not received the therapy.
Hospitalized adults are also welcomed to receive puppy therapy, it also helps to improve adult’s perceived energy level and reduces pain, respiratory rate and negative emotions. This causes adult patients to show improvement in their moods, and relieves fatigue and tension.
Puppy therapy comes in one of three ranges:
- Passive interaction: The pet sits or sleeps with the patient.
- Low interaction: The pet preforms minor tricks.
- Active interaction: The patient and animal engage in play time or go for a walk.
The range of interaction and the duration of the visit can vary from day to day.
Essentially, puppy therapy can benefit both adults and children, and each puppy is adaptable to their patient’s needs.
Written By: Andrianna Kapralios