Pet Therapy

An elderly woman with dog in autumn nature.

Pet therapy is a technique that uses companion animals to interact with seniors to improve their quality of life. A visit from the pet therapy animal at McKnight Place not only brightens the day of our residents, it encourages them to socialize and exercise.

What is Pet Therapy?

Pet therapy is a broad term that includes animal-assisted activities. Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems. Animal-assisted activities are a welcome distraction that help reduce stress and anxiety and provide comfort and enjoyment.

The pet therapy program at McKnight Place has an immeasurable impact on our residents, providing emotional support, easing their anxieties, increasing confidence and providing motivation to recover. Our registered therapy dog makes regular visits as part of our Restorative Therapy program and can even make special visits on request.

How is it beneficial?

It doesn’t take a scientist to know that pets make humans feel good. Science does, however, shows how pets can be therapeutic. Just 15 minutes with an animal lowers cortisol levels and increases production of serotonin (the “feel-good” hormone). As a result, heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels significantly drop. Over the long term, these interactions can help lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and may even help protect against heart disease and stroke.

To learn more about the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of pet therapy, please contact us for more information about our Pet Therapy and other therapy programs.

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