Benefits of Pet Therapy For Teens

Growing up comes with a wide range of challenges and pet therapy for teens offers many benefits. The stress of academic performance, peer relationships, social media, physical appearance, and societal pressure can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression. With these overwhelming pressures, teenagers may struggle to find coping mechanisms to support them. That’s where therapy dogs can lend a paw!

Pet therapy (also known as animal-assisted therapy) involves interactions with trained animals to provide comfort, support, and companionship. Pet therapy visits can play a valuable role in supporting teenage mental health.

Here are the top pet therapy benefits for teenagers to help them navigate this monumental time.

Help Limit Feelings of Loneliness

Pets have the remarkable ability to help humans feel less alone. Interacting with them can release the “love hormone” oxytocin in your body, which can help improve one’s mood and well-being. Whether it’s petting a therapy dog or cat, the presence of a pet can offer comfort and help combat the sense of isolation that teenagers may experience.

Be A Nonjudgmental Friend

Therapy dogs provide a nonjudgmental source of support, letting teens share their thoughts and emotions without fear of ridicule or criticism. That type of unconditional understanding can create a sense of belonging and connection.

Increase Positive Feelings

Another pet therapy benefit for teenagers includes boosting their mood. Therapy dogs can cheer a teen up by licking their hand, performing a trick, or simply sitting by their side. The affectionate nature of therapy dogs can help distract teenagers from negative thoughts and redirect their focus to more positive feelings. Being around animals can be calming, which can limit any yelling and outbursts of rage a teenager may be experiencing. 

Reinforce Responsibility

Having a pet in the household can help enhance a teenager’s understanding of responsibility and structure. Getting a teenager to help walk a dog and feed it, can help them become responsible and increase their confidence. 

Of course, not every home can provide for a new furry member, but our therapy dog program can help with that.

At Alliance of Therapy Dogs, we offer free school and home therapy dog visits including visiting teenagers who may be going through a rough time. Mental health may feel like an uphill battle but teenagers don’t have to face it alone.

Interested in Pet Therapy for Teens?

If you are an educator interested in having therapy dogs visit a school or know a teen who could use some canine comfort at home, contact the ATD office for more information.