Pet Therapy Research
7 June 2012

Pet Therapy Research

Benetas recently undertook research carried out by a university student into the benefits of implementing an animal interactive program or ‘Pet Therapy’ to promote wellbeing in older people living in residential care.

Alan Gruner, Benetas Research and Development Manager, said that a major recommendation of the research was to engage both staff and residents to create a successful pet therapy program.

“There was a large amount of interest, both from staff and residents around the idea of pet therapy. Residents demonstrated a real interest in having pets visit at the facility – with the vast majority of participants having pets in the past. Then when a dog was bought to visit, residents reacted really positively to having physical contact with the dog,” Alan said.

Alan said that an interesting outcome of the research was the response from both residents and staff when they spoke about their pets, either current or past.

“We found that even just having discussions about pets involving staff and residents was important. Many residents become very animated and lively when recalling telling of pets from their past. The study also showed a large number of staff had a strong pet attachment, but not many residents were aware of this. Starting discussions about pets between staff and residents may promote interest and social interaction among residents,” Alan said.