Animal Therapy for Anxiety 2022

Is there Animal therapy for anxiety? Animal therapy is the use of animals to help people cope with and recover from physical and emotional illnesses. It is also known as pet therapy.

People can choose from a variety of animals, including dogs, horses, and birds, depending on the therapy’s purpose. In most circumstances, animal-assisted therapy is not the only therapeutic option, but it may be a suitable fit for some people.

Animals may be able to provide comfort, warn others if someone is in danger, or even take direct acts to support a person in distress. It’s a form of supplementary or alternative medicine. It should complement rather than replace other treatments.

Overall, the purpose of animal-assisted therapy is to ease or support people in coping with some symptoms of various disorders. Depending on the person’s condition, the type of animal, and the sort of therapy they provide, animal therapy can take several forms. This article highlights more about animal therapy for anxiety.

What is the mechanism behind it?

The goals of animal therapy can vary, and these will influence how it is implemented. Animal therapy is a treatment that is used in conjunction with other therapies.

It should not be used to replace treatment(psychotherapy or physical therapy) of any condition and should only be used to supplement or improve existing treatments.

Depending on the disease and the type of assistance required, the type of therapy and the aim for that therapy may alter. Here are a few examples:

  • offering relief and lowering pain levels
  • enhancing motor skills or movement
  • acquiring social or behavioral abilities
  • improving motivation for activities such as exercise and social interaction

The animal’s handler, who is generally the owner, brings the animal to each session as part of the animal therapy process. The handler will work under the supervision of a doctor to assist the individual in achieving the therapy’s objectives.

Requirements for Animal therapy

Several organizations give training and connect handlers with healthcare providers. Many of the handlers are volunteers.

Both the animal and the handler will have to go through numerous certifications with these agencies and organizations before being approved for therapy use.

In most cases, the handler must complete an educational course on how to deal with people and do the many types of therapies they may provide. The animal must also pass a series of tests. Checking immunization records and completing physical checks to ensure the animal is usually healthy and disease-free will be among them.

They will also be subjected to temperament testing to ensure that they behave appropriately around the handler and others.

Many people require various types of support in order to do day-to-day duties. Some people require the assistance of others and specially trained pets to live freely. Others simply benefit from a visit with an animal that makes them feel at ease and relaxed. This unique service is provided by therapy animals.

Therapy animals, unlike assistance dogs or emotional support pets, are socialized and trained to bring comfort and affection to people in a variety of stressful situations. Therapeutic visitation animals, animal-aided therapy animals, and facility therapy animals are the three types of therapy animals most usually seen in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and disaster zones.

Benefits of Animal therapy for anxiety

People with a variety of health problems may benefit from animal therapy.

  • Mental well-being

According to the Pet Partners group, these therapies may alleviate a variety of significant stress and disorder signs by:

  • lowering anxiety and stress levels
  • minimizing pain perceptions
  • decreasing fear or worry
  • improving feelings of social support motivating, stimulating, and focusing

Animal therapy appears to have widespread benefits for both physical and psychological health, according to Trusted Source. The strongest evidence for animal-aided therapy appears to be for anxiety and depressive markers in the broadest spectrum of persons.

The therapy may be advantageous for people of all ages with a variety of illnesses, according to the experts. The usage of therapy dogs, for example, was proven to be beneficial in a 2019 study by Trusted Source.

These components may work together to make the therapy effective for illnesses like:

  • dementia
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • schizophrenia

Animal therapy has also been demonstrated to help lessen the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in studies employing therapy horses and dogsTrusted Source (PTSD).

When working with an animal, some people undergoing therapy for a substance use disorder may respond favorably and have a stronger sense of well-being.


While animal therapy may be beneficial for some people, it may not be appropriate for everyone. Some people are allergic to animals that are frequently used in therapy.

Many people, for example, are sensitive to dander from a dog’s shedding. Animal therapy with a dog could do considerably more harm than good for these people.

Others may simply be afraid of or uncomfortable with the animals. They may avoid this form of therapy because it would add to their stress.

In rare situations, a person may develop a strong bond with the animal very fast. This mood can lead to possessiveness or even lower a person’s level of pleasure with therapy.

Furthermore, therapy animals who visit hospitals and other long-term care institutions may carry viruses or diseases. Because there’s a potential they’ll spread these viruses to other people, rigorous testing is essential for any animal.

Types of Therapy Animal

A therapeutic visitation animal is the most popular type of therapy animal. These are pets that visit various locations, such as detention centers, to interact with individuals who may be missing their own pets, but then return home with their owner at the end of the day.

Animals of many kinds are used as therapy animals, but regardless of the species, they are normally assessed by a veterinarian, given basic training, and vetted to ensure they get along with people.

Although there are no federal laws protecting therapy animals, certain states have their own legislation that provides rights to owners and their pets. The National Service Animal Registry offers vests, collars, registration, and other services.

While most animals bring comfort and a strong sense of duty, there are a few that are particularly effective at lowering human anxiety. They include:

  • Dogs and cats are the most popular pets for relieving anxiety.
  • Consider a guinea pig or a hamster if you or your family members are allergic to dogs or cats, or if you don’t have enough space for a dog or cat.
  • A bird can be a wonderful pet and bring joy to your home with its song.
  • Because they don’t take up much space, little turtles and even bugs are also viable possibilities.
  • Rabbits are also excellent housemates, and some can even be toilet trained.

Conclusion on Animal Therapy for Anxiety

Regular sessions with professionally trained animals and their handlers are part of animal therapy. Its goal is to assist people in dealing with both physical and mental health issues.

Animal therapy may be recommended and administered by doctors or mental health specialists for a variety of problems, with different goals in mind for each person. Alternative therapies are available for those who do not love animal therapy or have other reasons to avoid it.

Anyone seeking animal therapy should speak with a doctor or mental health professional about the process and how it might benefit them.

Frequently Asked Questions about Animal Therapy for Anxiety

See below for the answers to some of the most asked questions about animal therapy for anxiety;

  1. Can a pet help with anxiety?

Pets, particularly dogs and cats, can help with stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as loneliness, exercise, and playfulness. They can also help with cardiovascular health.

  1. How do you get an emotional support animal for anxiety?

You’ll need a “prescription” from a mental health specialist to enjoy the advantages of an ESA. This is essentially a signed document indicating that you have a mental health problem and that your pet helps you cope.

A letter from a medical practitioner may be accepted by some landlords and airlines, but most of the time it must be from a therapist or psychiatrist.

You will, of course, require a pet. There is no additional training necessary. That implies you can probably get your pet certified as an ESA if you already have one.

Aside from that, getting an ESA is similar to getting any other pet! You’ll have to figure out what type of pet is best for you.

  1. Can dogs sense anxiety?

Humans and dogs have comparable social systems, which is one of the reasons humans get along so well. Dogs are also excellent observers; your facial expressions, posture, movement, odors, and tone of voice all provide dogs with a wealth of information about how you are feeling.

  1. Disadvantages of pet therapy

Another disadvantage is the cost and resources that animal-assisted treatment necessitates. Many treatment institutes are unable to provide a wide range of animal-assisted therapies, and those that do may be out of reach for potential


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