What Are Animal-Assisted Therapy Strategies?

Although it's always nice having a cat or dog at home, animal-assisted therapy strategies can be a very effective therapeutic tool for lots of conditions, like children with autism.
What Are Animal-Assisted Therapy Strategies?

Last update: 07 April, 2021

You might be surprised to learn about animal-assisted therapy strategies. Well, they exist and are very beneficial to people with certain conditions. Do you want to know more about how this therapy works? Keep reading to learn more.

Animal-assisted therapy strategies with cats and dogs

The Affinity Foundation has long demonstrated the benefits that pets have for children. There’s a campaign called “Growing Together” that shows that kids with a pet grow up with more self-confidence. Also, they love the company of animals.

Before this, there was a study from Hospital San Joan de Déu in Barcelona to determine the benefits or setbacks of animal-assisted therapy. In fact, the results from their program are amazing.

However, although the most common animals are dogs, some people choose cats for therapy. They seem more independent, but they can be great companions for therapeutic treatments.

A child and her cat.

The goals of animal-assisted therapy with cats and dogs

Now, what do animal-assisted therapy strategies do? Regardless of whether you’re a child or an adult, they improve the quality of life, strengthen their confidence, and make them feel useful.

For example, patients with Alzheimer’s, autism, AIDS, and depression use these therapies, in addition to the elderly. How do they strengthen the quality of life? In a few different ways:

  • Strengthening communication and personal relationship skills. Children with autism, for example, who run and hide, are open to the presence of an animal. In fact, they like being with them and enjoy their company. Then, this opens the door for these kids to want to relate to the world.
  • Improving self-esteem. AIDS patients, and lonely or depressed people feel the animal’s love. They feel like they can still be loved despite their difficulties. This boosts their self-esteem and they feel more secure.
  • Improving social skills. For those that have a hard time relating to others, animals will awaken their desire to bond with others people.
  • Stimulating their motor skills. Games with animal-assisted therapy can help improve the movement of people who need it.
  • Reducing anxiety and depressionIn fact, it’s proven that having a pet, and being able to pet them, reduces stress and improves self-esteem.
  • Fostering a sense of responsibility. For kids or people with mental illnesses, having a friendship with an animal will teach them about the responsibility of taking care of them.

Final thoughts

These animals are trained to carry out these tasks, and there’s always a trained professional showing them what to do. However, not all breeds of cats or dogs are suitable for this type of work.

A dog sitting outside.

After much research, it’s clear that animal-assisted therapy works for lots of people with different conditions. Even if this therapy isn’t necessary, having a pet at home is highly beneficial for personal well-being.

Whether or not there are children at home, elderly people, sick people, or even lonely people, a pet will always improve their life. In addition, your family dynamic will have a lot more love. It will improve many different parts of your life. Why not add a pet to your family?!

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