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Pet therapy or animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is categorized as a cost-effective alternative treatment method for hospitalized pediatric patients. Recent reports of AAT have been shown to decrease anxiety and depression, boost communication skills, and soothe the fears of the family and patient. This integrated approach has positively impacted patients’ psychological health, along with their physical health. The presence of an animal in the healthcare setting has proven to lower blood pressure and heart rate, as well as decrease pain. Pet therapy has also demonstrated a positive influence in children with mental illnesses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and mental retardation by increasing social interaction and advancing their language skills. Pet therapy allows the patient to receive a unique and holistic approach to care that is unlike any other form of treatment available. AAT encourages a holistic approach to patient care encompassing the whole patient and not just the directed treatment of the medical condition.

Publication Date

Spring 2020


Pet therapy



The Impact of Pet Therapy on Pediatric Physical and Psychological Health

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Psychology Commons