Footprints – Training & eTracking Solutions Blog

Types of Pet Therapy

Posted by Jesse Bortscheller on Thu, Dec 19, 2019

Whether you’re struggling with depression or fighting a more physical condition, you know that feeling happy for any amount of time is invaluable. It can be a tough state to attain, however you might see the improved health and outlook you need through pet therapy.

Pet therapy or “animal assisted therapy,” is a proven technique for fighting health complications both physical and mental. Therapy pets can be trained to assist an owner in performing daily tasks, can help with rehabilitation, or can simply provide the feel good vibes you need with some cuddly and patient companionship.

Pet therapy comes in many forms, the most commonly used including: 

Therapeutic Visitation 

A pet doesn’t necessarily have to be “trained” to be a therapy pet. In fact, your own animals can act as a therapy pet. This very common form of pet therapy is typically for patients currently residing in a hospital or medical care facility for an extended period of time. Healing can be a lonely process, and seeking a familiar and unconditionally-loving furry face can provide substantial stress, emotional, and even physical relief. 

Animal Assisted Therapy  

These trained animals, often dogs or cats, typically reside with a physical, mental, or occupational therapist in order to assist patients. In animal assisted therapy a patient may enjoy the company of the pet and find the process of petting therapeutic, or those recovering from chronic illness or an injury can find easy, stressless exercise through petting and light play.

There are also facility therapy animals, which specialize in caring for and monitoring patients with Alzheimer’s disease and similar conditions. 

Service Dogs 

Service dogs are highly trained in performing specific tasks and recognizing unique calls and tells so that they can provide assistance to physically-impaired individuals. Service dogs are wonderful for helping an absolutely astonishing array of disabilities, from seizure response dogs, to visual assistance, hearing dogs, and autism response dogs. 

Emotional Support Animals 

Depression and similar conditions can be absolutely debilitating, and sometimes a source of unwavering attention, love, and cuddles can do so very much for those suffering from mental complications. Emotional support pets have been found to help with depression, phobias, PTSD, panic attacks, and more. Generally the role of emotional support animal is given to cats and dogs, but pocket pets and even some more exotic options have been successful.