Pets may not be superheroes, but they do have special healing powers.
Animal assisted therapy is one of several complementary therapies offered by Ohio’s Hospice of Dayton and Ohio’s Hospice of Miami County to benefit patients. Trained pet therapy animals are frequent patient visitors and their impact can be significant.
A study completed in the 1980’s found that heart attack patients who owned pets lived significantly longer than those who didn’t. That early finding was the first evidence that pet therapy might have real clinical significance in patient outcomes.
Since then, further studies have shown that companion pets help people cope with stress, reduce depression, prevent loneliness and improve socialization. Animal assisted therapy can help promote healing and reduce fatigue. Studies have shown an increase in people’s level of oxytocin after pet interactions. Petting one’s own dog can reduce blood pressure. Nursing homes that have provided pet therapy have demonstrated a decreased use of psychotropic drugs and greater than 50% reduction in healthcare costs.
Pet therapy has been introduced as a component in clinical care settings including child counseling, acute care, addiction treatment, dementia, disability, extended care and hospice and palliative care.
Ohio’s Hospice is grateful for these incredible therapists and thank them for sharing their healing powers with our patients and families.