Pets have been known to provide several benefits to their owners. Research has shown that they can lower blood pressure, lessen anxiety, reduce stress, boost immune systems and help with exercise through taking the pet for a walk. Pets are used to treat patients of all ages, not just adults with post traumatic stress disorder.
Pets require a lot of care such as grooming and feeding, all of which can take the patient's focus off themselves. For the person with PTSD this reduces the amount of time spent rehashing their traumatic experience.
For larger dogs or animals there is the added sense of security once a bond is established. Horses mirror a person's mood, they respond negatively to negative emotions. This teaches the patient that their behavior can affect others, making it necessary to modify how they act in order to work well with the animal.
The core issues that are worked on with pet assisted therapy are confidence, self-view/concept, communication skills, trust, anxiety reduction, decreased isolation, self-acceptance, impulse control, and social skills.
Another benefit of pet assisted therapy for PTSD is that animals can be used as an alternative to medication. Some people prefer to avoid drugs, especially parents regarding their children. The therapy is viewed by some as a safer alternative because medications can have side-effects. It is also seen as a healthier option due to the increased activity required in the therapy. But it's also not uncommon for people to use medication in combination with pet assisted and other therapies.