Animal therapy involves guided, interactive sessions with specially trained animals in order to better manage physical or mental health problems. During an animal therapy session, you’re invited to pet, stroke, or otherwise interact with the animal, which can improve your mood and well-being
. Different animals—such as cats, dogs, and horses—can have different benefits. Riding a horse, for example, can be especially useful for improving physical balance, whereas interacting with a dog can lower blood pressure, ease anxiety, and reduce stress and loneliness. Studies show that animal therapy can also benefit cardiovascular health as well as improve mental health.