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Benefits of
Animal-assisted Interventions


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Nature

Animal-assisted interventions (AAI)


Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) have been found to have a positive impact on the emotional, social, physical, and cognitive well-being of participants.
AAA has been shown to improve the participants' emotional well-being, reducing stress, anxiety, and depression levels (Banks et al., 2008; Cole et al., 2007), social skills, improving communication, physiological benefits and cognitive function, including memory recall and problem-solving skills (Krause-Parello et al., 2014).


Benefits of AAI


Physiological benefits:
Petting an animal can release such beneficial hormones as endorphin, prolactin, dopamine, oxytocin and beta phenylethalamine (Odendaal & Meintjes, 2002).

Lower blood pressure:
Numerous populations, including stockbrokers, report lower blood pressure when pets are introduced (Allen et al., 2001).

Stress relief:
animals can lower stress markers as compared to a spouse or close friend (Allen, 1998).

Survival of heart attacks:
pet owners have healthier hearts and fewer risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Mood improvement:
Animals can alleviate feelings of loneliness and depression, improving the mood of patients (Kaminski et al., 2002; Tsai et al., 2008).

Combating obesity:
Clinical evidence indicated that people are more effective at losing weight when they do it with a friend or companion (Becker & Kushner, 2006). Dog-walking is a form of regular exercise that motivates people and has a greater positive impact on exercise performance than walking with human confederates (Wohlfarth et al., 2013)

Hippotherapy:
Therapeutic riding addresses numerous physical health issues and improves mobility, balance, coordination, muscular strength, posture and language ability

Health concerns for seniors:
Elderly persons with pets visit physicians 16% less frequently; dog owners make 21% fewer visits (Siegel, 1990).

Pets and the aging:
Frequent animal interactions combat loneliness, enhancing the mood and well-being of an aging population.

Allergies:
Studies have reported that children who grow up with dogs or farm animals have a reduced risk of developing common allergies and asthma (Platts-Mills et al., 2001; Ownby etal., 2002, 2003; Fall et al., 2015).



Overview of Benefits for various demographics

Industry:
Long-term health care and assisted living centers can offer AAT/AAA, which can create a more natural environment, enhance patients' recovery and staff morale, and incur minimal costs.


Families with Pets:
Pets can enhance the quality of family life and minimize tension between familymembers.
Dog owners are emotionally close to their dogs as to their closest family member.


Individuals with disabilities:
Service animals offer significant psychological, social, demographic, and economic benefits to owners with disabilities.
Service dogs decrease owners’ dependence on other people and paid assistance, and improve social involvement and independence.
Miniature horses can also serve as guides for the visually impaired.


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