There is no denying that Americans love their pets. In fact, pet care products and services remain one of the top performing industries worldwide, managing to be profitable even during the recent recession. Still, it may seem strange to learn that a service that once exclusively catered to people is becoming an increasingly popular custom for pets. However, in recent years, pet therapy has gone from an extravagance of the Hollywood elite to a common practice among middle class Americans. So why do pets need therapy?
Well, just as people have distinct personalities, so do pets. When an individual has cared for his dog for a few years, it is only natural to take notice when new behaviors develop, particularly unhealthy or dangerous behaviors. Therefore if a pet that typically has a healthy appetite begins to snub his food or a pet that enjoys the outdoors begins to appear apprehensive about routine walks most likely has some deeper issue bothering him.
To ensure the utmost comfort of the pet and assure the most authentic observations of its behavior, animal therapists usually conduct their services at the home of the animal. During the first session, there will be an in-depth interview of the animal’s owner and a review of the the animal’s medical history, as well as any other documented issues. The therapist will then observe the pet, in his natural surroundings and develop a specialized action plan to eliminate out of character or unwanted habits. With the tools and techniques provided by the therapist, pet owners can usually regain the personality and demeanor of their animals in a relatively short time frame, usually within a couple of weeks. Periodically, the pet therapist may check back in to see if progress remains positive or if further intervention is needed.
While it can be somewhat pricey, usually costing $300 dollars or more, many pet owners boast highly favorable results with this unique approach to animal health and wellness. Still, many skeptics believe that pet therapy is quack medicine and that there is no true way to determine the psychological state of something that cannot speak. Nonetheless, many individuals are turning to pet therapists in hopes of discovering why their pets have suddenly changed and how they can begin to understand and ease the distress of their beloved friends and faithful companions. Does pet therapy actually work? The jury is still out. But for concerned pet lovers who have exhausted other options of veterinary visits or dietary changes, it is definitely something to consider.