April 11th is national pet day—This is a great time to look at the how-to of pet therapy and learn how it promotes comfort and healing. Pet Therapy is one of the unique programs at Bluebird Health’s hospice program. Pets have a proven healing effect on people and provide companionship and comfort. That’s why it’s one of the research-backed programs offered to hospice patients.
The How-to of Pet Therapy:
Pet therapy gives patients time to interact with canine visitors who come in with their owners. The dogs liven the day up and hang out with patients. They provide limitless affection and comfort to patients facing end-of-life challenges. Many of these patients have had pets and may miss this type of furry friend. If you are in the Hospice program at Bluebird, talk to your caseworker about setting up a pet therapy session.
Promoting Comfort and Healing
Pet therapy offers many mental benefits, including releasing hormones serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin. All of these hormones are instrumental in elevating mood. But it’s not just mental health that can benefit. Physical health gets a bump too.
Lowered blood pressure and improved cardio health often occur with pet therapy. Breathing slows in those who are anxious. Pets also allowed participants to relax more during exercise, as you can see in the chart below. Participants enjoyed the sessions more, which is understandable if you’ve ever been walking your dog. It’s a perfect time to unwind.
If you’d like to learn more about alternative therapy, check out this pet therapy article that takes a deeper dive into it.
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