The Best Therapy Pets for Your Loved One

siamese cat therapyLast updated, March 2017

One of the ways you can make life easier for children struggling with any developmental, behavioral or physical disability is by offering them therapy pets. An affectionate Siamese cat, a calm smiling dog or a small pet that the child can hold would be a great therapist.

The right animal will give your child unconditional love and affection. Apart from this, it will make the child feel special. If you are considering pet therapy for your child, you need to strategically decide the right animal to pick. Below are top 5 pets that are great therapists for a struggling loved one.


Dogs are perhaps the most common therapy pets. Even when untrained, dogs have a natural affinity with humans. This is why they are among the most popular pets. If you would like to get your puppy trained as a therapy dog, there are various courses with instructions on what to do. These courses can be modified to fit your home.

Certified dogs need more training because they can be used in schools, hospitals and nursing homes.


Lizards require little attention and make excellent therapy pets. Moreover, they are readily accepted by children. Pet lizards can be taken almost anywhere where the caretaker goes. For example, many people walk with their bearded dragons. Dragons are a docile species, are safe with young children and are popular with both teens and parents. Other reptile species you can get include geckos, iguana, and anoles (often called chameleons).


Despite no official recognition as a service cat, some cat breeds can provide can provide a warm presence to psychologically distressed individuals or invalids. The rhythmic purring, kneading paws and consistent demeanor of the pets can be soothing to people struggling with emotional and mental instabilities. However, cats can be persnickety about how they are handled and touched. Moreover, since they are more independent (for example, Siamese cats), they tend to be less aggressive than dogs


Unlike other pets on this list, fish cannot be held. However, there are very few things that beat the serenity and visual delight of a beautiful aquarium. Most people do not know that fish have personalities and form interactive communities in a tank. It is fun to watch these communities and you can even name the fish based on their personalities. This is why you will find aquariums in the waiting rooms in hospitals, lobbies and clinics.


Hooked-beak birds and the parrots have great personalities and can form lifelong bonds. Unlike other bird species, parrots prefer spending time socially with people, other birds and even cats and dogs instead of flying. If you are looking for a low-cost option, check the parakeet. This is an extremely low maintenance and happy chirp that can be easily tamed and trained to talk.

Pocket Pets

Pocket pets are small mammals that like to be cuddled. The pets also like to be carried around, usually in the pockets. Examples of pocket pets include guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, ferrets and very small dogs. When choosing a pocket pet, it’s best to go for one that is calm and won’t bite. You also have to handle the pet gently so that it becomes used to being held.

However, there are some challenges you should be aware of before getting a pocket pet. Some of the challenges include unwanted breeding, urine smell, and the pets escaping from their enclosures. The person who will be taking care of the pets should be comfortable with their needs.

The above are six of the top therapy pets you can get for your loved one.



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