5 Benefits of Animal Therapy for Teenagers
The main objective of animal therapy for teenagers is to improve their emotional, cognitive, and social functioning. The use of this type of therapy is increasing, particularly in teenagers with school problems, depression, anxiety, or other behavioral issues.
It’s no secret that many people feel unconditional love for their pets. In fact, people who have pets know first hand the companionship they provide. Currently, this unconditional relationship between humans and animals is being used to help teenagers who suffer from all kinds of conditions. This is known as animal therapy.
Therapy animals have begun to emerge as a complement to conventional psychotherapy in the treatment of mental and behavioral health.
Animal therapy offers a wide range of applications to meet the needs of teenagers. In fact, studies confirm that teenagers not only become more social with animals, but also increase their social interaction with adults.
The benefits of animal therapy for teenagers
If you opt for animal therapy to help your teenager, we recommended that you choose family animals that calm them down and awaken their curiosity.
For example, dogs, cats, horses, or rabbits are commonly used in animal therapy. Dogs deserve special attention because of their endearing relationship to humans.
Here are some reasons why animals are used in therapy for teenagers:
1. Effective partners against stress
It’s well known that animals help eliminate stress and anxiety. There is nothing like petting an animal to calm the mind. Playing with a pet can increase the levels of oxytocin, a stress-reducing hormone, and lower cortisol levels.
2. They know how to listen
Animals know how to listen in difficult times and can become the best confidants. On many occasions, teens feel that adults don’t understand them during this stage of their lives.
Using a pet as a sounding board is a great way to verbalize confusing thoughts and emotions that some young people harbor inside of them.
3. Provide unconditional love
A pet is always by your side, even in the most difficult moments. Unlike people, who can come and go, animals stay by your side each and every step of the way.
Similarly, pets can help combat feelings of depression and anxiety by providing companionship. Among other benefits, they can also have a positive impact on self-esteem, reduce loneliness, and even make a person less introverted.
“Therapy animals have begun to emerge as a complement to conventional psychotherapy in the treatment of mental and behavioral health.”
4. Help the social connection
Animals help teenagers become more social and fight the desire to isolate themselves from others. For example, taking the dog for a walk often leads to conversations with other pet owners.
As a result, teenagers become more socially connected and less isolated. They also gain more empathy and trust towards others.
5. Build healthy habits
Animals help teenagers create healthy habits and routines. Dog owners should regularly walk their pets. In turn, they enjoy the benefits of physical exercise.
In addition, animals must be fed regularly. Therefore, they give teenagers a reason to get up and take care of them, regardless of their mood.
Taking care of pets also promotes personal care. Caring for a pet reminds teenagers that they must first take care of themselves, in addition to fulfilling certain responsibilities to ensure the well-being of their pet.
In conclusion, animal therapy helps teenagers with issues improve their lives and feel better. If you detect that your teenager has an emotional or social problem, consider bringing a pet home to take advantage of its multiple therapeutic benefits.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Dimitrijević, I. (2009). Animal-assisted therapy – A new trend in the treatment of children and addults. Psychiatria Danubina.
- Cabra Martínez, C. A. (2012). Terapia Asistida con animales. Efectos positivos en la salud humana. Agriculture and Animal Sciences.