In modern society pets (the so-called "pets") are no longer considered a source of services and nourishment (as it was once with guard dogs, anti-mouse cats etc …) but are seen as important subjects for our daily life. This new way of conceiving and living the human-animal relationship has brought with it the awareness that the animal is able to exercise a series of beneficial effects on human health and well-being, improving its life.
Furthermore, the health implications arising from the relationship between man and his pet and the usefulness of this relationship in the treatment of some psycho-physical problems are also recognized. It is recognized to the "pet" a catalytic effect (increase socialization), psychological support (they are inducers of smiles and good humor), of psychological rebalancing (the presence of the animal reduces psychological stress, anxiety and depression) and cardioprotective (reduce blood pressure and the risk of some heart problems such as a heart attack). Today the generic term "Pet therapy" is used a lot. In reality, the most correct terms to indicate these programs are those of AAA (assisted activities with the help of animals) and AAT (assisted therapies with the help of animals). Pet therapy programs can be used with different objectives: one of these is the inclusion of animals in therapeutic communities - such as hospital wards - to relax the climate, promote socialization and improve patients' quality of life. Or for practical purposes, the introduction of Pet therapy in therapeutic or educational treatments already underway.
Pet therapy is not a therapy in itself, but a support to traditional therapies, in which animals are used that, together with the handler, are considered suitable to participate in these activities. To date, various animal species have been used: dog, cat, rabbit, horse, donkey, goat, cow, bird, dolphin, etc. However, it is important to emphasize that the animal itself does not have a therapeutic function, but it is the relationship that is established between him and the patient that produces the desired results.