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Power of pooches: Pet therapies are essential in coping with anxiety, stress and more; read

Pets do not only offer you immense love and trust, but they also help you in coping with health and mental health issues.

Power of pooches: Pet therapies are essential in coping with anxiety, stress and more read drb
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Mumbai, First Published Jan 1, 2022, 10:17 AM IST
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The joy of having a pet animal, be it a dog or a cat, is unparalleled. The unconditional love of a pet can do more than simply keep you company. From decreasing stress levels to improving heart’s health to even helping children with their social and emotional skills, pets can do wonders for their owners. Dr Ashutosh Singh, psychologist, Apollo Hospitals Indore decodes the numerous health benefits of owning a pet.

Speaking of the wonders that a pet’s presence has on a human being, Dr Ashutosh Singh says, “Animal Assisted Therapy, especially Canine (Dog) Assisted Therapy, has shown qualitative or quantitative psychological and psychosocial improvement in a wide variety of mental health issues. Animal-assisted therapy is largely used for autistic children for developing social skills, empathy and communication skills in them. Even though there is no evidence that animal therapy can possibly help in changing autistic characteristics, it is believed that the behaviour of an autistic child can be managed with this.” 

This therapy is helpful particularly for the young ones falling under the age bracket of 10 years to 30 years of age. The results of animal-assisted therapy are positive in PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), anxiety, depression, and anger management and disruptive behaviour. With the help of this treatment, improvement can particularly be seen in socialisation, engagement, subjective wellbeing, self-esteem, and coping in one’s mental health,” said  Dr Singh.

Animal-assisted therapy or pet therapy can be given as either meet-and-greet sessions or occupational therapy, physical therapy, and distraction, said Dr Singh. He also added that therapy dogs are highly trained for providing comfort and affection to those in need of therapy.

Therapy dogs can have a calming effect on a person who is either under stress or hyper because of anxiety. Encouraging families to own pet(s), Dr Singh concludes by saying: “Stronger attachments between children and their pets may be reflected in the amount of time spent playing and walking together, and this may promote social and emotional development in children.”

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