The role of pets in addiction recovery

18 Aug, 2023

The role of pets in addiction recovery

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To most pet owners the animals we keep with us in our homes are not only great company, but they can also be a great comfort in difficult times. The role of pets is so varied depending on our circumstances and their nature. Some dogs are famously emotional support dogs. Pets are increasingly recommended during the time of addiction recovery.

It’s controversial perhaps, but hear us out. Read on to learn the natural gifts a pet’s role offers someone in recovery. It may surprise you.

Pawsitive Connections: The Therapeutic Role of Pets in Addiction Recovery

role of pets
Pets are a terrific distraction and frequently offer a healing presence

Introduction to the role of pets in addiction recovery

  • Addiction is a complex medical condition, which takes specialist support
  • Pet therapy and the role of pets in animal-assisted therapy is a recognised support protocol in this sometimes lengthy recovery process
  • There is a positive impact of temporary pet care on the well-being of individuals in recovery

Challenges in the Journey of Addiction Recovery

  • Those who are struggling with severe substance use disorder can receive the necessary help and support at a rehab for drug dependency
  • There are a number of strategies you can use to help mitigate and overcome these challenges using the role of pets in a domestic situation. Such as
Harnessing the Therapeutic Power and the Role of Pets

Pets are often used in such scenarios because they give emotional comfort and unconditional support. This is exactly what someone in recovery needs on tap. The exploration of the benefits of pet companionship cannot be undersold for the vulnerable people in recovery. The following are the major benefits to be found in the role of pets for someone in recovery:

1. Building a Routine

  • Structure and routine has great importance during the process of addiction recovery
  • Pets play a crucial role because their very presence and well being necessitates a routine for feeding, exercise and care.

2. Stress Reduction

  • Discussing stress as a risk factor for addiction and as a trigger for relapse is an important part of mapping the recovery journey. The role of pets is vital in stress reduction during the journey.
  • Highlighting the role of pets in stress management as well as regulation of blood pressure and heart rate is an obvious choice, but important nonetheless.

3. Getting Sufficient Exercise

  • Exercise is essential as part of the addiction recovery process. Having a pet like a dog that needs regular exercise means the person in recovery will benefit from that routine exercise, and the movement itself aids addiction recovery too.
  • Dogs must be walked, sometimes several times a day. That is how pets help those in recovery to get more exercise.

4. Distraction

  • Another important role of pets is in the distraction they offer from the everyday and worries and concerns about the self. The pets by their very presence and close proximity sometimes take the mind away from worries and substance use.
  • Stroking pets is a calming activity, giving them treats and playing with them takes the mind off the immediate concerns. This is healthy. It is good.

Pet therapy is not a panacea in addition recovery

Clearly the presence of a pet as part of the life of someone in addiction recovery is not the beginning and end of this process. It is one useful strategy to help those in addiction recovery and is gaining in the number of people who espouse the role of pets in the recovery process of those recovering from addiction.

Ethical and Practical Considerations of Pet Therapy

the role of pets
The role of pets in healing humans is well recognised as evidenced by the introduction of emotional support dogs into the homes of traumatised patients over recent decades

Naturally, there are a number of ethical and practical considerations to consider in this kind of therapy.

  1. There are potentially additional challenges and limitations of animal-assisted therapy
  2. While the role of pets as part of this journey is recognised as advantageous, the selection of suitable pets for individuals in recovery is critical
  3. And introducing a pet into this journey isn’t the whole picture, it must be part of a collaborative care approach

The role of pets in addiction recovery in conclusion

Despite the challenges faced by those in addiction recovery it is now well documented that pet care and the role of pets such as emotional support or assistance dogs in this journey is hugely beneficial. The benefits of pets in the addiction recovery process are recognised by practitioners internationally.

There is some significant support for the integration of pet-assisted therapy into recovery programs now all over the world. The role of pets has never been more important as part of the healing process for humans.


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