Pet Therapy Works For Addiction Treatment – We’re Not Doggin’ Ya

When Did Pet Therapy Begin?

By the 1970’s pet therapy, more formally known as animal-assisted therapy, or AAT, was becoming all the rage. Pets of any kind, especially the soft and cuddly ones, were bringing an exceptional amount of comfort to those who were struggling with serious illnesses, conditions, and diseases. Today, pet therapy is still a popular treatment method. Certifying dogs to be service dogs for mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and even addiction, isn’t hard to do. Service dogs are used to help those with paralysis, cerebral palsy, and other debilitating issues. People bring service dogs to retirement homes and hospitals so that patients can give the pooches a friendly pet and receive a happy smile.

Additional Treatment Method

Unfortunately, when a treatment method or modality is labeled with the word “therapy” the therapy industry as a whole loses its cool. Pet therapy is considered to be an additional treatment method, not a primary one. Replacing any kind of psychotherapy or cognitive therapy, which has been proven in its efficacy for decades, with another treatment method is a reckless attempt. Primary treatment methods are best supplemented by other treatment methods, not the other way around. For example a doctor treating a cancer patient is unlikely to release the patient because they were feeling better on a day when a service dog came to visit. The doctor is unlikely to say, my work here is done, but likely ask for the dog to visit more often.

How Does It Work?

Pet therapy works to bring momentary relief, relaxation, and joy to those who are in the midsts of difficult struggle. Few is there a person who doesn’t experience the slightest amount of heart flutters when they see a fluffy puppy or a precious kitten. Animals are non-judgmental, cannot use hurtful words, and are rarely neglectful. Though animals can take on a personality of their own, service animals are taught to sit, lay, and withstand happy pats, sobbing tears, and tight hugs. A loving moment from an animal can change a day, enhance the therapy process, and allow for expressive moments which might not come during a traditional therapy session.

Lakehouse Recovery Center offers a residential home where pets are welcome. We understand the safety, security, and love that a beloved pet can bring to a recovering patient. Interacting with animals is a part of human nature which traces back since the beginning of man himself.


Messages sent through this form are confidential. Required fields are marked with (*).

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.