Over the next few weeks I will be uploading numerous information documents on complementary and alternative therapies that I have researched. A complimentary therapy is a therapy often used alongside conventional medical treatment. An alternative therapy is generally used instead of conventional medical treatment. Many alternative therapies have little scientific evidence behind them, however any research I’ve found has been included. 

This week I will focus on Pet Therapy. Any feedback, questions and/or input is greatly appreciated!

What is Pet Therapy?

Pet therapy is a guided interaction between an individual and a trained animal. It also involves the animal’s handler.

The purpose of pet therapy is to help a patient recover from or cope with a health problem or a mental disorder.

Pet therapy also is called animal-assisted therapy (AAT). Dogs and cats are the animals most commonly used in pet therapy.

However, fish, guinea pigs, horses, and other animals that meet screening criteria can be used.

The type of animal chosen depends on the therapeutic goals of a patient’s treatment plan.

Who can use it?

Although all Children with Autism will exhibit different behaviours, there are many aspects of their lives that an Autism Assistance Dog can help with.

They are trained to meet the needs of both the child and the parents.

The new companion provides a steadying influence for the child, many of whom have a tendency to run off when scared, especially in strange locations. Our dogs are trained to prevent this.

Find out more about autism and dog therapy at http://www.adni.org.uk/dogs-and-puppies/autism-assistance-dogs/

Benefits

Pet therapy builds on the pre-existing human-animal bond.

Thanks to this natural relationship, pet therapy can aid progress toward goals in human physical, social, emotional, and cognitive function

(American Veterinary Medical Association, 2013).

Pet therapy can be used in many different ways.

Goals of a pet therapy program can be to: ·

improve fine motor skills · improve assisted or independent movement · increase self-esteem · decrease anxiety or loneliness · increase verbal communication

· develop social skills · increase willingness to join in activities · improve interactions with others · motivate willingness to exercise

Cost

Prices for AAT vary depending on what animal you are requesting, however an approximate price is in the range of £125-£500.

Research

Martin and colleagues (2002) found that children exhibited a more playful mood, were more focused, and were more aware of their social environments when in the presence of a therapy dog.

These findings indicate that interaction with dogs may have specific benefits for this population and suggest that animal-assisted therapy(AAT) maybe an appropriate form of therapy.

References

Martin, F., Farnum, J., 2002. Animal-Assisted Therapy for Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 24(6), pp. 657-670

If you have any questions relating to Pet Therapy I would be happy to try and answer your questions.

Things you might like

Check out the GoTo Seat

The product that started it all and changed lives all over the world

Find out more
Survey icon

Do you do therapy with your child at home?

Other articles you might enjoy...

A Little Bit About Aquatic Physiotherapy

I have always loved being in water. Over the years I have enjoyed it for different…

Special Needs

Dolphin Therapy

Dolphin Therapy is the use of dolphins as a therapeutic resource. The therapy typically…

Survey icon

Public Opinion…

Are you happy with your current therapist?