For the last 6 and a half years, residents at our Pratt House care home in Amersham have been benefitting from animal therapy, through regular visits from the adorable Doug The Therapy Pug!

Doug is a registered Therapy Dog with Pets As Therapy, who assessed Doug's temperament to ensure his behavior is totally predictable at all times, guarding against him reacting negatively to any sounds, actions or behaviors.

During his sessions at the house, residents can spend time with Doug, cuddle and stroke him - he's become a popular character and provides residents with companionship and many other health benefits.

animal therapy at care homes

Benefits of pet therapy for older people

Reducing stress

Various studies have shown that one of the benefits of dogs interacting with older people, is that they are very effective in reducing levels of stress of stress and anxiety. A study into pet therapy, carried out in Missouri revealed that spending time with a pet such as Doug can increase our levels of serotonin – one of the hormones responsible for maintaining our well-being and happiness!

Encouraging conversation and sparking reminiscence 

Another benefit of having sessions with Doug at the house is that it's a great way to engage our residents in conversations with each other, often encouraging residents to start talking about pets they have had in the past. A study into how Pets help humans find social support, which was published by Harvard Health Publications, showed that animals are good ice-breakers, and make it easy for people to start conversations.

Companionship and friendship

Forming a positive bond with an animal is a great way to improve relationships with other humans. Many studies show that animals can teach us valuable qualities such as patience, responsibility and trust, which we can carry over to the connections and relationships we form with other people.

Reducing blood pressure 

It has been shown that pets can help lower blood pressure.  As we age, our blood pressure increases, which puts older people at a much greater risk of high blood pressure and strokes. Petting and communicating with dogs has been proven to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol!

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