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How Man’s Best Friend Supports Physical Therapy

Sep21st 2017

You don’t need to have a therapy dog to reap the benefits of man’s best friend supporting your physical therapy efforts. In fact, household pets, not just dogs, can provide numerous small, yet significant advantages to individuals who suffer from chronic pain and/or orthopedic injuries. How do animals help support your physical therapy regimen? Continue reading to learn more!

Whether you like it or not, your pets hold you accountable for various normal, daily activities. From feeding your cat to taking your dog for a walk, you must perform certain physical tasks to ensure the health and well-being of your pet. In turn, these actions guarantee you get some level of physical activity. Therefore, if you’re a known couch potato who needs a reason to get up and moving each day, welcoming a furry friend into your home may be something to consider!

Pets are incredible motivators. In addition to helping you remain accountable, they make you feel appreciated for some of the things you do for them. Going on walks, playing catch in the yard, or engaging in a round of tug-of-war can all motivate you to become active and remain active. Since pets, namely dogs, require so much care, they can also motivate you to stay on top of your self-care and physical therapy routines.

Physical Improvement
Lastly, pets can help improve your balance, endurance, and fine motor skills. In addition to motivating you through games of fetch or tug-of-war, these activities can help build strength and improve mobility. Of course, it’s imperative you start out slow with your pet if you are recovering from a serious condition or injury. As you become progressively stronger, you can work out new games and activities for you and your pets!

Top 4 Animals For Physical Therapy 
As we mentioned previously, you don’t need a certified therapy animal to improve your health and participation in physical therapy. If you’re looking to purchase or adopt an animal to help with your physical therapy struggles, here is a list of four animals that are considered excellent choices for people in pain or in need of physical therapy assistant:

Dog- Unsurprisingly, dogs make wonderful companions for individuals who need help performing their physical therapy routines. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they’re incredibly intuitive animals.

Cat- Cats can make great therapy aides because they are often soft and gentle creatures. Moreover, they’re easily entertained and they’ve been found to help those who suffer from dementia and autism.

Horses- If you haven’t heard of equine therapy, you should look into it! It’s a popular treatment technique that has been found to lower blood pressure in anxious individuals and enhance social behaviors in people with certain disabilities.

Rabbits/Guinea Pig- Small animals, like rabbits and Guinea pigs, are great animals because they offer comfort and companionship. They also improve an individual’s fine motor skills because they are small and sometimes difficult to handle.

How have animals impacted your physical therapy experience?