Within the last two decades, the use of animals has been introduced as a therapeutic intervention in traditional treatment programs. Research has shown many unique benefits to using animals with individuals and programs, including:

  • Physical: lower blood pressure, endorphin release, decreased pain, motivation for physical therapy
  • Mental: increased socialization, communication, self-confidence
  • Emotional: increased happiness, relaxation, comfort, feeling of friendliness
  • Educational: motivation for reaching educational goals, increased communication, improved literary skills, and enhanced focus


What Social Workers and Their Agencies Can Do

  • Recognize the value of a pet in the home and determine if the pet qualifies as a service or support pet
  • Determine if client will benefit from animal-assisted therapy, and research available community programs
  • Identify proper program to fit client goals and agency requirements, including targeted educational goals, such as enable communication, develop literary skills, and improve overall focus



Tips and Tools

Assistance Animal Definitions and Examples

Additional Resources for Animal-Assisted Therapy