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A bulk of evidence has shown that pets not only make great companions but also have a deep salubrious effect on mind, body, soul, and spirit.

A professor at Western Carolina University, Psychologist Harold Herzog, is an expert in the human-animal connection, and has spent over three decades investigating the complex psychology of human interactions with other species. Herzog addresses some of the recorded benefits of pet ownership, which include “higher survival rates, fewer heart attacks, less loneliness, better blood pressure, better psychological well-being, lower rates of depression and stress levels, fewer doctor visits, increased self-esteem, better sleep and more physical activity.” According to the 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 70% of U.S. households, or about 90.5 million families, own a pet. Up until recently, pet owners in need of treatment for substance abuse and/ or addiction were faced with the seemingly impossible decision to attend treatment and leave their beloved pet behind. 

Are Pets Allowed?

Yes, an individual may be permitted to bring his or her pet, but it depends on the rules of the specific detox program or substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment program selected. Pets can play an integral role in the treatment process. While many detox and rehab programs do not allow pets and some will have strict breed restrictions, there are now rehab and detox options that allow pets to accompany their owners to treatment. Pet-friendly drug rehab has gained traction with sound scientific reason. Studies have shown that pets can have a therapeutic impact on people suffering from drug or alcohol addiction and various life-threatening disorders such as heart diseases. Data presented by the San Francisco non-profit Pets Are Wonderful Support (PAWS) has revealed that bonding with animals increases oxytocin, which is a hormone in the body that elicits the same pleasurable effects that occur when people use drugs or alcohol. Pet interaction can help to release endorphins, producing a calming effect. This can help alleviate pain, reduce stress, and improve one’s overall psychological state. Ultimately, the physical and mental benefits that come with having a loving pet by one’s side during detox and/ or rehab can increase the success of substance abuse treatment.

For Information and Support

Contemplating detox can be a very challenging time. Before any individual can begin to work on the underlying issues contributing to their substance abuse problem, they must be separated from the substances in their systems. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. Sherwood Detox offers a stand-alone detox program. For additional information on detox, please do not hesitate to contact us at: 818-626-9959‬ or feel free to email us anytime. One of our trusted counselors is available to talk and discuss how we can best support you on your journey.