Benefits of Therapy Dogs in Senior Care

Posted on November 1, 2018

Do you know that feeling you get when you see an excited puppy wagging its tail, rushing to lick you? For most individuals, it is a feeling of excitement and uncontrollable love. Fortunately, even as we age, this feeling never fades. As can be seen in the various forms of service animals, pets such as dogs can help relieve distress and anxiety, much like the symptoms of PTSD. The benefits of therapy dogs can also be useful in the everyday care of seniors.

At The Pavilion Senior Living, offering senior living services throughout Tennessee and West Virginia, we want to share the benefits of therapy dogs for older adults.

Pet Therapy 

Pet therapy could sound like a far-fetched idea, but the activity can be quite simple. The responsibility of caring for a pet can ultimately give the senior a sense of purpose along with a myriad of additional health benefits. Pet therapy also known as animal-assisted therapy, utilizes the companionship of animals towards seniors.

Activities that may take place include:

  • Petting
  • Grooming
  • Walking
  • Feeding
  • Interaction and Companionship

By utilizing dogs in therapy, seniors get to feel as though they own a pet without all of the responsibility that comes along with owning one. They will not have to pay for pet visits, dog food, dog accessories, or leaving an animal if they themselves become sick. Seniors can minimize the responsibility of owning a pet all while accessing the benefits that are included with pets. 

Benefits of Therapy Dogs

Various animals can positively impact the lives of seniors, especially therapy dogs. Before utilizing this form of therapy, consult with your older loved one’s therapist or primary care doctor to ensure they will benefit from it. It is also important to verify that the senior in your life does not have any allergies to dogs that may make this therapy harmful. 

If your older loved one is approved to participate in pet therapy, then we would recommend doing so with a furry four-legged friend. There is a reason why dogs are called man’s best friend. The following are the benefits a dog can have on senior in therapy.

  • Minimize Loneliness
  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Lower Cholesterol
  • Improve Motor Skills and Mobility
  • Improve Communication
  • Increase Mental Stimulation

Various breeds of dogs can participate in pet therapy. According to Caring People, there are certain breeds that perform best, but when trained properly all furry friends can provide excellent emotional services. Other pet options include cats, fish, birds, horses, and even dolphins.

Where Can You Find Pet Therapy?

The benefits of pet therapy in senior care is undeniable. So, where can you find pet therapy to benefit your older loved one? You can inquire about programs by visiting websites about Emotional Support Animals or your local Animal Shelter. You can also find pet therapy programs at local senior living communities. Another option for finding pet therapy without the responsibility of a pet is to purchase an interactive therapeutic robotic animal. Companies have developed realistic animals to provide seniors with the pet experience which are being implemented in many senior living communities as well. Just having a soft creature, especially one that can interact and move will benefit your older loved one’s health.

If you have further questions on senior care and senior living, contact us today!