Most pet owners agree that they are happier when around their furry (and non-furry) friends. Pets can also help those recovering from illness in hospitals, nursing homes and other ambulatory settings.
Defined as a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal, pet therapy increasingly is being utilized to help people with behavioral health issues, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
While dogs and cats are most commonly used, due to the joys and calming effect they have; other animals - fish, guinea pigs, horses and others - can have an impact. Therapeutic goals dictate the type of animal.
Here are the top five benefits associated with pet therapy.