It was once thought that the only good animals for providing therapy to humans was the dog. K-9s are man’s best friend. They are most of the time very friendly. In recent times though, this idea has changed. Therapy with animals is such a success that virtually all animals can become a pet that helps provide it to not only their owners, but others. Therefore, instead of asking, “What are the best animals for therapy?” you should just assume that any animal can do it.
Animals Winning Hearts
Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, birds, miniature animals, and more are all popular choices as a therapy pet, but it does not stop there. There are even birds and ducks that are sometimes provided as a distraction for people who have health issues. These animals do not require a lot of training, but they do have special traits that make them usable as an “affection giving animal”.
Requirements for Pets
As long as you do not go outside of the realm of the mini horse, mini pig, donkey, alpacas, and llamas, exotic animals are not frequently used as therapy pets. Most people would not want to have a snake on their lap if they were dealing with high blood pressure. Wild animals are also not used for obvious reasons. Other than that, the only requirement for most pet therapy organizations is that they be at least a year old and they have lived with their current owner for six months.
About the Pets
Therapy pets are not able to provide a true service to their owners. They are not considered service animals at all. This means that they are not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and therefore they do not need to be registered as a therapy animal. However, most hospitals prefer to have animals that are known for being calm and those that are covered by some type of insurance.