Hospice Pet Therapy

Senior woman with her dog

There are many beneficial reasons why a beloved pet should be a part of a patient’s medical treatment program, especially during end of life care. When a pet visits a patient there is an increased amount of positive activity, conversation, and emotional connection.
Pets can:
• Provide unconditional love
• Reduce anxiety and stress
• Provide soothing companionship
• Reduce depression
• Lowers blood pressure

Most often dogs are the animal of choice used in pet therapy because of their loving, compassionate presence. They are also able to sense subtle human emotional and physical signs.  Cats are also frequently requested because they are also very calming and bond well with people. Pigs have been used also because they are highly intelligent animals and are also affectionate and calming. Other animals that have been used are birds, horses, and rabbits. Any animal that is going to be used in pet therapy must be house broken, nonaggressive, able to sit, stay and come on command, and be properly vaccinated.
A person who is under hospice care needs to know that they are surrounded at all times by things that make them feel safe and secure. Having a pet visit a hospice patient, whether it be the patient’s own or a specially trained therapy pet, can provide immeasurable benefits to both the patient and their loved ones.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.