When your loved one makes the move into a care home, they will face a lot of changes. While the positive changes outweigh the negative when moving into care, there are still things that a person will naturally miss about their old home, a pet often being one of them.

Pet therapy is something that has been introduced in many care homes. From household pets such as cats and dogs, to farm animals like alpacas and goats, animals are being brought into the care home environment as a way of helping residents stay positive and happy, especially those with a love for animals.

According to the Royal College of Nursing, research has found that stroking a pet can be relaxing and can result in a reduction in blood pressure. The presence of pets can also promote social interaction and reduce psychological responses to anxiety. Pet therapy has also been linked to an increase in physical activity, with residents getting up and walking around the grounds with the pets that visit them, something that they may not be motivated to do on their own.   

The use of pet therapy can also aid those living with dementia, as the introduction of a pet can often eliminate the isolation, irritability and agitation that those with the condition can often experience. Petting, cuddling and even simply sitting with an animal can have a positive effect on a person’s overall health, while triggering happy memories of their own pets.

Pets can often be brought into care homes by the team working the home, but there are also organisations such as Pets As Therapy, who provide a therapeutic visiting service by registered volunteers in hospitals, hospices, nursing and care homes, all across the UK.

Pet therapy is not for everyone and knowing our residents is key to making it a success, but with the right person matched with the right animal, the benefits can be amazing. We have used pet therapy in our home and have seen that our residents are more focused, happier and less stressed. Pet therapy in care homes