Animal Therapy in San Diego


Animal Therapy in San Diego

If you had a pet growing up or have spent any amount of time around animals, you know how much having a furry friend can improve your quality of life. Coming home to a wagging tail or an affectionate purr is often enough to melt the day’s stress away in an instant. Some call it unconditional love, but owning a pet goes beyond the mushy, gushy stuff to provide you with a number of surprising health benefits. 

Health benefits of interacting with pets

For nearly 25 years, research has shown that interacting with animals on a regular basis has a positive impact on humans’ emotional and physical health. But the benefits don’t stop there. New studies show that having a pet promotes social interaction, too. Here’s a closer look: 

Emotional benefits
Like any enjoyable activity, snuggling or playing with a pet causes a rush of serotonin and dopamine – the “feel good” neurotransmitters that are known to have pleasurable and calming effects. It also causes oxytocin (the “cuddle chemical”) to surge through your body, which is linked to emotional bonding. 

Physical benefits
The benefits of interacting with pets extend far beyond the emotional realm. Pets can actually lower your heart rate and drop your blood pressure, which is good for your cardiovascular health. Having a pet can also keep you physically fit. After all, talking a walk is much more fun with a furry companion trotting along next to you. 

Social benefits
Anyone who has a pet will tell you that dogs can be social magnets. Having a pet by your side is a natural conversation starter, which may help you ease out of shyness or social isolation. Plus, research has shown that people who care for pets are more likely to be involved in their communities.

Animal therapy in San Diego

You don’t have to own a cat or dog to reap the emotional, physical, and social benefits of interacting with pets. Listed below are a few of the wonderful animal therapy programs in San Diego designed to provide comfort and companionship to those in nursing facilities, hospitals, schools, or anyone who could benefit from the affection of a furry friend.

San Diego Humane Society
In the San Diego Humane Society’s Pet-Assisted Therapy program, volunteers bring animals to those living in nursing homes, mental health centers, and other facilities. And, as part of the P-AT program, the Welcome Waggin’ provides the love and companionship of a dog to people in their own homes throughout San Diego County. 

Paws 4 Healing
Paws 4 Healing is a non-profit organization that provides animal therapy services to people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, children’s centers, and abused women’s shelters. In addition to scheduled facility visits, Paws 4 Healing also goes to expos, conferences, fairs, and parades to spread the word about animal therapy.

Love on a Leash
At Love on a Leash, therapy animals and their owners visit residents in assisted living homes, hospitals, and hospice care facilities with a goal of bringing a smile to someone’s face and making their day a little brighter. As a new service, volunteers now travel to college campuses to provide stress relief to students during finals.

We welcome your pet!

As a resident of Bella Vista Health Center, your pet is always welcome to visit upon approval. To schedule a one-time stay or repeating cuddle sessions with your furry friend, talk to our staff. Don’t have a pet? Not to worry. The San Diego Humane Society and Love on a Leash regularly visit our facility to provide all patients with the healing benefits of time spent with companion animals.

Give us a call to schedule a private tour of Bella Vista Health Center today.