Mental Health Benefits Of A Therapy Pet

The loyalty and camaraderie pets display can bring a great deal of joy to a person’s life. However, in certain instances, animals might actually play a vital role in helping someone maintain a healthy mental state. Let’s highlight several ways in which therapy pets could benefit your mental well-being.


What is a Therapy Pet?

Therapy pets, or emotional support animals, are typically dogs who receive official certification designating that they are providing necessary companionship and comfort to individuals stricken with specific mental or systemic ailments. A documented therapy animal may accompany its owner on traveling excursions or to other locations normal pets would not be able to go.


Anxiety Reduction

Individuals afflicted with moderate to severe anxiety conditions can experience difficulties executing basic day-to-day functions. The accompaniment of a therapy pet could help to ease the extreme tension afflicted persons can be experiencing. By reducing anxiety, a person will be able to function easier in their daily life.


Increases Socialization Levels

Certain mental disorders render some people incapable of engaging in social activities or at the very least, makes such interactions quite challenging. Therapy animals are also capable of improving the socialization abilities of some people. These comforting creatures might not only boost the confidence of their owners but they can make the act of socializing easier. Most people like animals and will often be more apt to interact with individuals who have them.


Encourages Quicker Recoveries

Therapy animals, like most pets, often exhibit a great sense of loyalty and care to their owners. The presence of at least one living creature, who can stand by them through thick and thin, can encourage those with a mental illness to get the help that they need and begin to take steps to overcome their affliction. Certain mental health professionals believe that stricken individuals might actually recover more expediency or, at the very least, witness a decrease in the severity of symptoms with the aid of a therapy pet.


Limits Feelings Of Isolation

Individuals with certain mental health problems often experience periods of isolation. In certain cases, they might actually be living alone or have no family or friends close by that they can relay on. However, to others, their condition might lead to actions that colleagues, neighbors, and even loved ones cannot understand. Such circumstances lead to even greater feelings of loneliness. By always being at their side, therapy pets can help said persons overcome the despair potentially caused by isolation and loneliness.


While a therapy pet may not be right for everyone and it can never replace the help of a licensed therapist, they can potentially ease your symptoms and provide you with a consistent source of companionship. Talk to your therapist today to see if a therapy pet is right for you!

Herrick Lipton is the CEO of New Horizon Counseling Center in New York and is also an advocate for mental health. For more information about Herrick or to get in touch with New Horizon Counseling Center for resources, please visit or call 718-845-2620.