Note: This article’s statistics come from third-party sources and do not represent the opinions of this website.
Pet therapy is the use of animals when dealing with emotional, physical, and mental situations. During therapy or when a person is under a great deal of personal stress or trauma, turning to a trusted pet helps lessen our fears and provides the support needed to pull ourselves up and continue. Let’s look at a few statistics on this form of therapy to give you a better idea of the importance of pet therapy, the need for service animals, and how pets can make life better in more ways than we realize.
Top 15 Pet Therapy Statistics
- 88% of pet owners believe their animals help reduce stress.
- A recent study shows people with brain injuries become more aware during pet therapy.
- The CDC reports over half of the country’s hospices now use pet therapy with their dying patients.
- 74% of pet owners claim their mental health has improved thanks to their animals.
- Animal therapy greatly benefits children suffering from PTSD.
- There are 10 types of service dogs found in the United States.
- The United States is home to more than 50,000 therapy dogs.
- There are over 500,000 service dogs in the US.
- Service dogs undergo up to 3 years of extensive training.
- The Labrador and Golden Retriever are the two most popular service dogs.
- Several types of animals can be used in pet therapy.
- Horses are the second most popular animal used in therapy.
- Seven different species can be recognized as service animals.
- Dolphins help fight depression.
- Guinea pigs are ideal pets for children with autism.
The Mental Benefits of Pet Therapy
For those suffering from emotional, mental, and even physical ailments, pet therapy is becoming one of the most popular forms of treatment. The comfort and support provided by animals allow most people to feel calmer and more protected no matter the situation they are in. Below, you will find five statistics that show the benefits pet therapy is providing to those who utilize it and why this form of therapy is gaining so significantly in popularity.
1. 88% of pet owners believe their animals help reduce stress.
The world’s population is becoming more stressed. Work, family, politics, and COVID-19 are only a few examples of the weight people carry on their shoulders. Pet owners feel that spending time with their animals is one of the best ways they can reduce their stress levels and decompress after a long day.
2. A recent study shows people with brain injuries become more aware during pet therapy.
(National Library of Medicine)
In a recent study conducted on people with brain injuries, it was shown that they were more alert and focused when animal therapy was taking place. Their attention spans did not show significant signs of improvement but the possibilities of pet therapy aiding these patients are there.
3. The CDC reports over half the country’s hospices now use pet therapy with their dying patients.
The benefits of animal therapy are making their mark. Hospices are now offering pet therapy to their sick and dying patients to comfort them as they pass. Per the CDC this practice is available in over half our hospices.
4. 74% of pet owners believe their mental health has improved thanks to their animals.
Taking on daily activities with your pets is a wonderful way of improving your mental health according to WebMD. Whether you are depressed or dealing with other types of mental health issues, the feel of your pet near you and the need to do activities with them can boost your mood and make you feel better.
5. Animal therapy greatly benefits children suffering from PTSD.
(Dominican University California)
Up to 15% of girls and 6% of boys will find themselves suffering from PTSD at some point throughout their childhood. Dealing with physical, sexual, and mental child abuse is difficult for little ones to cope with. The introduction of animal therapy offers comfort and support to children suffering from the after-effects of these terrible situations.
Important Therapy and Service Dog Statistics
Dogs are one of the most popular therapy and service animals. Their loving and protective nature makes them ideal for taking on the role of protector, supporter, and nurturer when we are in need. The road to becoming a service or therapy dog is not an easy one, however. Below we will look at a few statistics that show just how important dogs are to the world and what they can offer in the world of pet therapy.
6. There are 10 types of service dogs found in the United States.
In the past, service dogs were only considered working dogs for leading the blind. Over the years, their abilities and responsibilities have grown. Service dogs are now used to help people with autism, seizures, and allergies. A lot of responsibility is now being placed on these amazing creatures.
7. The United States is home to more than 50,000 therapy dogs.
Service dogs are more widely used in the United States, but therapy dogs are on the rise. Currently, over 50,000 therapy dogs are working and living in the United States. These dogs provide animal-assisted therapy to adults and children in need of emotional support.
8. In the US there are over 500,000 service dogs.
Service dogs work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for their owners. Whether they are guide dogs or seizure-detecting dogs, they work diligently to ensure the well-being of those in their care. Due to their working status and their owner’s dependency on them, service dogs are among the best-trained animals in the world.
9. Service dogs undergo up to 3 years of extensive training.
(Service Dog, Therapy Dog & Emotional Support Animal Registry)
The training service dogs undergo is intense. Due to this fact, many dogs who train to be service dogs will not make it. Specific traits, temperaments, and abilities are required before a dog receives their certificate and becomes a service animal.
10. The Labrador and Golden Retriever are the two most popular service dogs.
(US Service Animals)
Due to their easy trainability and work ethic, the Labrador and Golden Retriever are the two preferred dogs to become service animals. The German Shepherd is another popular choice and rounds out the top three.
Other Animals Used in Pet Therapy
Dogs aren’t the only animals used in pet therapy. While they are the most popular, many types of animals can be used for emotional support, service, and therapy sessions. Read on below to learn more about these animals and what they offer people suffering from mental and emotional issues.
11. Several types of animals can be used in pet therapy.
(American Counseling Association)
While dogs are often the most used animal in pet therapy, there is a long list of possibilities especially in the world of animal-assisted therapy led by counselors. Animals of all shapes and sizes can be utilized if they can give comfort to the person in need.
12. Horses are the second most popular animal used in therapy.
(American Counseling Association)
Horses have the unique ability to observe the world around them and react to the nonverbal cues of the people they interact with. This is why many therapists use them to recognize certain patterns of behavior.
13. Seven different species can be recognized as service animals.
(US Service Animals)
While dogs are the only truly recognized service animal, seven other animal species can be recognized in this position. Miniature horses, potbelly pigs, ferrets, parrots, capuchin monkeys, boa constrictors, and of course dogs, are recognized in some fashion.
14. Dolphins help fight depression.
A study was done by UCLA Health several years ago showing the benefits of dolphin therapy when compared to taking medication for depression. The people who spent time with the dolphins seemed to do better with their issues and showed progress far sooner. While this study is several years old, dolphin therapy is still considered an ideal way of dealing with stress when in a monitored environment.
15. Guinea pigs are ideal companions for children with autism.
A study showed that when children with autism interact with guinea pigs, they are more open to extending that interaction to the other children in the area. Children with autism may do well with guinea pigs as their companions due to these scenarios.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Therapy
1. How does pet therapy work?
In short, pet therapy is any form of therapy where an animal is present. This can be a dog, or another animal the patient feels comfortable with. These animals are different from emotional support or service animals but can often be intertwined.
2. Are service dogs part of pet therapy?
In a way, they are. Service dogs can be trained to help people in several different scenarios. If a patient seeking therapy has a service dog of their own, they will be allowed to have their service pet with them during pet therapy sessions.
3. Does pet therapy work well with children?
Yes. Pet therapy is an excellent way of working with children who suffer from autism, depression, or have been abused. Often the pets provide the support children need to work through their situation and feel comfortable in a therapy setting.
While pet therapy is becoming more common, we are still learning more about the short and long-term benefits this type of therapy provides. This list of 15 statistics and facts is a great starting point if you’re interested in learning more about pet therapy and how it may help you and your family.