Did you know that pet therapy is gaining popularity at many nursing care and rehabilitation facilities across the country? But, what exactly is pet therapy? In essence, it’s a term that is used to describe both animal-assisted therapy and other types of animal assisted activities. Pet therapy is a rising field that utilizes dogs and other animals in order to help people recover from medical issues, and to learn how to cope better with problems such as mental disorders, cancer, and heart disease to name a few. However, animal-assisted activities have a far more general purpose.

For example, animal-assisted activities typically provide nursing home patients with both enjoyment and comfort. So, how does pet therapy actually work? If you or a loved one is in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility, simply ask the staff to have someone tell you more about the program. If the information sounds good to you or a loved one, the facility will arrange for a handler and assistance animal to visit you or your loved one. They will stay for about 10-15 minutes. At that point, the handler will encourage you or your loved one to ask as many questions as you would like.

Once the first visit concludes, most patients end up with a smile on his or her face. You or your loved one will probably feel less tired than you did before the visit. You may even feel a lot more optimistic about your current situation. You’ll probably want to talk about the positive experience with other people, and will be looking forward to the next visit. Pet therapy is known to help reduce anxiety, depression, fatigue and even physical pain in patients who are receiving cancer treatments and patients who reside in long-term care facilities.

Pet therapy is also good for patients with cardiovascular diseases, dementia, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Even family members and friends who visit patients during pet therapy sessions tend to feel good as well. The simple act of petting a dog can have some amazing benefits such as the release of serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin. These are hormones that are well known to play a significant role in elevating moods. Participants in our pet therapy sessions are typically far more motivated regarding other areas of therapy.

Please contact us today for more information about our pet therapy program.

Matulaitis Rehabilitation and Skilled Care is the leading non-profit skilled nursing facility in Northeast Connecticut. We are proud to receive top national rankings and the highest five-star rating from Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare. Our dedicated staff combines renowned care and exceptional nursing skills with a holistic approach. We fully realize that the restoration of your health and well-being after an illness, operation, or injury can be incredibly difficult.

Our long term care features attention to the whole person, assuring individualized care for fullness of living, spiritual welfare, and providing a sense of community with enriching programming. We invite you to learn more about our special smoke-free facility as you consider your own or a loved one’s needs.