How Pet Therapy Can Help You Feel Better

January 22, 2015

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Photo Courtesy: Heather DeMello

In need of some mid semester mental therapy?  

Interaction with gentle and friendly animals has proven mental and physical health benefits.  Research demonstrates that spending time with furry friends is effective in improving the psychological health of individuals with or without disabilities. It is easy for stress levels to increase with work commitments and midterms around the corner. Pet-therapy is an evidence based activity that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Spending a few minutes with a therapy animal can lift your spirits when feeling depressed or provide a comfort while away from home. Individuals tend to smile more and exhibit more alertness and attention during interactions with therapy animals.

Spending time with furry friends can also have positive effects on your cardiovascular health. Since dogs need adequate physical activity to maintain their health, pet owners are typically more physically active. Participation in pet therapy is associated with lower blood pressure, reduced physical pain and reduces endorphins which have a calming effect on the body.

UNH Health Services provides pet-assisted therapy and activities services free on-campus. Hamilton, is a certified pet therapy dog is currently visiting campus organizations upon request and will be available by appointment at Health Services during the spring semester! 

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