pet friendly 

drug rehab

Don't leave your best friend behind

Bring Your Pet to Rehab. Our Pet Friendly Rehab offers Living Options that allow clients to bring their pet to addiction treatment. Pets provide the comfort, companionship, and unconditional love many clients need to recover from addiction and mental health problems.


Choosing a pet friendly treatment center can make a big difference for many people in recovery. Petting an animal provides physical contact that many people desperately lack and need. The therapeutic touch of a cat or dog releases feel-good hormones that make people feel happier. Studies show that owning a dog can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress, anxiety, and other mood disorders. In general, people with dogs exercise more and sleep better at night.


Choosing a rehab where you can take your dog is thus very important for a dog lover.

Our dog friendly rehab makes it possible for our clients to make the difficult transition into drug and alcohol addiction treatment less stressful. There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.


Lack of trust is one of the biggest challenges in recovery. People with personality disorders and addiction problems lack trust in themselves and other people. The non-judgmental support and unconditional love from an animal can help clients cultivate empathy, rebuild trust, and feel open to receiving help. “The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.” Samuel ButlerNotebooks, 1912.



Not only do pets make great companions, they also make it easier to relate and socialize with other people. The animal is a great topic of conversation and a shared interest between living options clients. Also, having a pet close by creates a greater sense of security in social situations. Bringing a pet to rehab helps clients maintain a feeling of normalcy during the treatment process, and caring for an animal becomes part of a healthy routine. Because they are among the most effective pet friendly rehabs in California, 12 South Recovery and Bella Speranza Sober Living encourage clients to bring their pet because the non-judgmental support of a loving pet is irreplaceable in recovery.




Anyone who arrives home after a stressful day to a dog's ecstatic leaps or a cat's steady, calming purr understands the benefits of animal companionship. Research shows that the human-animal bond has health rewards, lowering agitated behavior in people with Alzheimer's and reducing anxiety in cancer patients. But what about animal-assisted therapy for people dealing with substance abuse? In an emerging trend, some substance abuse centers offer living options that allow clients to bring along household pets, incorporating furry friends into the care plan. Pet friendly rehab facilities are becoming more and more common as the positive effects of incorporating pets into addiction treatment become more apparent. Here are eight advantages pets can bring to people in recovery.


1. Reducing initial negative emotions


Loneliness, guilt and anxiety often plague people in living options for addiction, particularly in the early phases. The familiar presence of a beloved pet may help soothe feelings of being overwhelmed and isolated.


2. Releasing good chemicals naturally


Caring for, feeding and playing with a pet increases mood-elevating brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. A 2015 study by Azabu University in Japan showed a link between gazing into a dog's eyes and an increase in oxytocin, the hormone associated with lower blood pressure and feelings of love. Healthy stimulation of the brain's pleasure center is a positive step toward recovery from addiction.


3. Decreasing sadness and hostility


A 2016 Washington State University study showed that adolescent boys in a substance abuse living options program who played with shelter dogs every week experienced less hostility and sadness. The weekly one-hour sessions consisted of running or walking with the dogs, tossing toys, petting or brushing, sitting or lying with the dogs, and giving them treats. After eight weeks, researchers evaluated positive and negative emotion scores of the boys who played with the dogs and another group of boys who instead hiked, played video games or shot hoops. The decrease in negative emotions in the group that played with dogs is promising, said study author Lindsay Ellsworth."Animals could be a huge asset in a recovery program," she said.


4. Aiding in relaxation


Anxiety eases and blood pressure declines when people interact with pets. Pets also help people cope with stressful situations, an important tool in recovery. In a 2001 study of 48 people treated for high blood pressure with medication, half were assigned to adopt a dog or cat. After six months, all had lower blood pressure, but the pet adoption group showed significantly lower blood pressure in response to stressful situations.


5. Rewarding accountability


"Learning life skills and a sense of responsibility is important in recovery," said Tom Hill, senior advisor on addiction and recovery at the Center for Substance Abuse living options, an office of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Rockville, Md. "Being responsible for another living being besides yourself could be considered skill building for people in living options."


6. Engendering love and trust


Bonding with another living being and giving and getting unconditional love may seem foreign to people whose addiction has led to isolation and self-blame. The potential role of pets in building the ability to love and count on others is worth more study, Hill said.


7. Encouraging healthy habits


The mood-boosting benefits of exercise are important in someone’s return to physical and emotional health. A dog's regular demand for a walk or a cat's insistence on chasing a string might make it easier to get moving.


8. Reducing stress levels


Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol were associated with higher substance abuse living options dropout rates in a 2009 study by the University of Maryland, College Park. Holding and caressing a pet has been shown to decrease cortisol. No data yet links higher living options completion rates with pets, but enlisting pets to lower the stress response may help calm and reassure someone who is considering walking out. If pets alone could conquer addiction, we'd all show up with kittens, puppies, birds and bunnies for troubled friends or relatives. It's not that simple, of course, but structured, disciplined living options programs that combine the psychological comfort of pets may prove to be a significant frontier in addiction therapy.