Pet-Friendly Alcohol and Drug Rehab Centers That Allow Cats and Dogs Near Me

According to recent research, 19.4% (53 million) of Americans aged 12 or older currently abuse prescription or illicit drugs. When alcohol and tobacco consumption are taken into account, a total of 60.2% (165 million) Americans engage in substance abuse. Furthermore, 25.4% of households across the USA own cats, while 38.4% of households own dogs.1,2

Because substance use disorders (SUDs) are a significant issue that negatively affects both individuals and the society as a whole, making sure effective and evidence-based treatments are available to as many people as possible is critical.3

Many individuals who battle SUDs own pets or would benefit from having pets included in their SUD treatment plan. Pet-friendly drug and alcohol rehab centers are specifically designed to allow patients to benefit from the human-animal bond while undergoing treatment.3

What Are Pet-Friendly Addiction Treatment Centers?

Research has shown that the comfort provided by pets and/or animal-assisted therapy can aid people in overcoming their SUDs and increase the chance of achieving long-term sobriety. Rehab centers that allow pets take advantage of this fact by enabling recovering individuals to keep their pets with them throughout rehab.3

Being able to bring their pet into rehab is especially beneficial for treatment-seeking individuals who suffer from severe SUDs and/or have a history of relapse. Since many of these individuals require extended stays and 24/7 monitoring inside inpatient facilities, they are more likely to remain in treatment for the full duration if they can take their pet with them and not have to worry that their pet is alone while they are in treatment.3

Do Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers Allow Pets?

It depends on the facility in question. Many rehabs that do allow pets only allow some types of pets.4 Before undergoing their initial assessment at an alcohol or drug addiction rehab center near them, treatment-seeking individuals who wish to take their pets into rehab and/or benefit from animal-assisted therapy should first verify that their facility of choice is pet-friendly.

If you do not know how to find an appropriate pet-friendly rehab center for yourself or a loved one, you can reach out to a dedicated drug and alcohol abuse hotline. This will give you an opportunity to discuss your situation in complete privacy with a trained navigator. They will be able to answer your questions, offer recommendations for treatment, and help you find a pet-friendly addiction treatment center that meets your needs.

How Do Pets Aid in Addiction Treatment?

Research shows that the bond that can develop between an individual and an animal can be beneficial for that individual’s psychological well-being. It is believed that the feeling of being needed by their pet provides recovering individuals with a powerful sense of purpose, which is not unlike the connection between a parent and a child.4

Combined with the enjoyment, companionship, and hope provided by a pet, this sense of purpose can foster a deep human-animal connection, which can serve as a source of strength an individual needs to fight back against their SUD and maintain abstinence.4

Are There Dog-Friendly Rehab Centers?

Some rehab facilities that allow pets give patients an option of bringing their dog in with them. Facilities that provide service dogs for alcoholism and drug abuse also exist. However, since different centers can have significantly different policies, it is recommended that you call the facilities you are considering for yourself or your loved one beforehand and inquire about their policies regarding pets. For instance, some facilities allow patients to bring in dogs as a way to boost morale and offer encouragement, while others include dogs in educational groups.4

How Do Trained Service Dogs Help Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Treatment?

Service dogs are specially trained animals that assist their owners in specific tasks or carry them out in their stead. According to the Americans With Disabilities Act, trained service dogs are allowed to remain by their owners’ side everywhere they go, which includes facilities that treat SUDs and co-occurring mental health disorders.5

Duties performed by service dogs may include:5,8

  • Fetching items for individuals with limited mobility
  • Guiding individuals with visual impairments
  • Signaling individuals with hearing loss
  • Getting help when their owner is experiencing a potentially life-threatening situation, such as stroke or heart attack
  • Providing companionship to their owners, which can be beneficial for the owners’ mental health

What Is An Emotional Support Dog?

Unlike service dogs, emotional support dogs are not trained to carry out specific tasks. However, they contribute to their owner’s psychological well-being by providing purpose, entertainment, hope, and companionship. Many dog-friendly rehab centers allow patients to bring in emotional support dogs, provided that the dogs in question are well-behaved.6

Knowing what to expect from treatment and the role your or your loved one’s emotional support dog can play in it is key to increasing the likelihood of achieving lasting success. This is why it is recommended that you contact the facilities you are considering and inquire about their policies in regards to emotional support dogs and other pets prior to beginning the admissions process.

What Are Pet Therapies and Animal-Assisted Therapies?

Many pet-friendly rehab centers use trained animals such as horses, dogs, and even dolphins to aid patients in recovery. Evidence shows that animal-assisted therapies can be a useful type of adjunctive treatment for individuals who battle SUDs and co-occurring mental health disorders. These animals may be included in the course of treatment by a therapist, counselor, or social worker. In some cases, they are brought in by volunteers to improve the patients’ mood.3,5

Do Rehab Facilities Allow Therapy Dogs?

Some rehab centers use animal-assisted therapies, including dog-friendly rehab, to improve the recovering individuals’ emotional, physical, social, and cognitive health. Animal-assisted therapies can be used alongside other evidence-based treatments and can be implemented in both individual and group settings. They are also compatible with both inpatient and outpatient substance use disorder treatment programs. Many animal-assisted therapies rely on dogs because they are easy to train, enjoy socializing with people, and come in a wide variety of different breeds.3

If you or your loved one opt for a pet-friendly treatment center, it is likely that dogs will be a part of the rehab program. That being said, you should call your preferred facility and check with them before entering treatment.3

Can Therapy Dogs Help With Anxiety?

The companionship and affection provided by a therapy dog can make it easier for patients to deal with the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal and partially alleviate certain mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders. The animal-human connection can also lessen the anxiety that is often associated with being in rehab.6,8

Are There Cat-Friendly Rehab Centers?

Some pet-friendly treatment centers allow cats. Although cats do not respond to training as well as dogs do, studies have shown that they can still provide their owners with the equivalent level of emotional support, companionship, enjoyment, and hope. What’s more, cats tend to be more independent, which can make them better companions for senior patients who may not be able to care for a dog on their own.4

However, since not all pet-friendly rehab centers offer cat-friendly rehab, you should contact your facility of choice to ask if they provide this type of treatment and discuss the details with their staff.

Can I Bring My Cat or Dog to a Rehab Center?

This depends on the policies of the facility in question. Trained service dogs are allowed to accompany their owner everywhere, while other pets such as emotional support dogs and cats are not. Unless your pet is a trained service dog, you should always confirm with your drug or alcohol rehab center to ensure that they allow pets (and which types of pets are allowed) prior to bringing an animal to a treatment facility.6

What Should I Know About Bringing My Pet to a rehab center?

Most cat and dog-friendly treatment centers expect patients to take care of their pets themselves. If the animal is not a trained service dog, it will be up to the treatment-seeking individual to make sure their pet is well-behaved and able to do well in a residential setting.4

How to Find Pet-Friendly Addiction Treatment Centers Near Me?

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a nationwide network of drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities. AAC can help treatment-seeking individuals obtain evidence-based treatment for their substance use disorders and any co-occurring mental health disorders they may be suffering from, including:

Does Healthcare Insurance Cover Pet-Friendly Rehab?

The treatment of SUDs is labeled as essential care under the Affordable Care Act. This means that all healthcare insurance plans must include some level of SUD treatment. Regardless of whether your insurance is private or public, your plan will at least partially cover the cost of pet-friendly drug and/or alcohol rehab.7

To learn what exactly is covered under your insurance policy, call the AAC helpline. This will give you an opportunity to speak to an experienced navigator who will be able to help you verify your insurance coverage for SUD treatment, discuss the different types of healthcare insurance plans, explain the various payment options available, and recommend treatment programs that best meet your needs. If you are unable to pay for rehab, the navigator can also assist you in finding free treatment for yourself or your loved one.