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What is Animal Therapy and How Can it Reduce Stress

Pet Something

Personal favorite day alert! This one is all about our furry friends. Studies have shown (sign us up for these studies btw) that snuggling animals can reduce the effects of stress almost immediately. So… we’re not going to waste any more time with talk. Have at it!

It's science

  • Several studies show that interacting with an animal companion reduces stress and lowers cortisol levels.
  • A study of 48 adults showed that contact with a dog was better than support from a friend during a socially stressful situation.
  • In one study, interaction with a therapy dog reduced distress and resulting cortisol changes during a minor medical procedure in children.

Where should you start?

If you have a pet, have a friend with a pet, or live near a cat cafe, go pet one for goodness sake! It’s best if you look the animal in the eyes, pay attention to their breathing and the sounds it makes, and keep petting/snuggling for at least 5 minutes. Tough stuff, we know.
If you don’t have access to an animal, these videos may help.

Extra credit

Animal shelters often welcome volunteers coming to pet, snuggle, play with their dogs. Some of them might even encourage you to take the dog to a park or other area to get fresh air and exercise together. Or perhaps a neighbor would love for you to take their dog for a walk or simply have it over for some play time.

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