It is said that dogs are man’s best friend, but could they be more? They are loyal and ever-loving; this trait has made canines an integral and common part of what is fast becoming a standard mode of therapy in many healthcare facilities.
Dogs and animals, in general, have long been recognized as having a positive effect on the healing process. Dogs, especially, have a calming effect.
We hear many stories of Dogs helping people cope with emotional issues, offering physical contact, invoking pleasant memories, and diverting a person’s focus from the day’s problems. That’s why they’ve been used to great success as helpers for those in therapy.
Dogs are specially trained for their jobs of helping to take care of the sick, the elderly, or the infirm.
Currently, there are three types of therapy dogs:
• Facility Therapy Dogs
• Animal-Assisted Therapy Dogs
• Therapeutic Visitation Dogs
The first two types assist physical therapists by meeting a person’s recovery requirements. They are usually found in hospitals and are permanently assigned there.
The most common type of therapeutic dog, however, is the third type.
Therapeutic visitation dogs are ordinary pets owners take to hospitals, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities. These dogs help people away from home due to mental or physical illness.
These people are usually in a highly stressful or depressing environment; a visit from a therapy dog can brighten their day and help them deal with their problems.
Through their bright example, these dogs help the people they meet to maintain a positive attitude. This positive outlook is important for good health, happiness, and longevity. Pets also provide a chance for patients to touch and be touched.
This gives the patients a chance to express their need for physical contact, a need that doctors have proven as a very important factor in a patient’s psychological health.
This is integral in helping people maintain a better mental standing on their condition. This and the ever-loving nature of dogs make them perfect cures to depression that often plagues many patients and residents of nursing homes and hospitals.
It’s very difficult to accurately measure how positive an effect therapy dogs have on patients. But all you have to do to see that they’re doing their job is a happy smile on a patient’s face when they’re in the company of a fantastic dog.
Health Benefits Of Having a Dog
Did you know that having a dog gives you several health benefits? Dog Care 13 In studies done by medical professionals, dog owners benefit from their pet’s presence in several ways:
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Dog owners have been proven to have blood pressure and cholesterol lower than ordinary people. These factors reduce the chance of cardiovascular diseases. Stroking a pet has long been known to reduce blood pressure.
A New York State University study found that these benefits continue even without the pet available. The study tested a group of stockbrokers with hypertension. They concluded that just being a pet owner can lower blood pressure.
Dog owners also have blood cholesterol levels lower than normal. The Baker Medical Research Institute of Australia tested five thousand four hundred people, and the results showed that pet owners have lower blood pressure.
Faster Recovery Time and Higher Survival Rates
Hospital studies have found that seniors and recently operated-on patients responded better to treatment and got better quickly while in contact with dogs and other therapy animals. Just petting a dog can be relaxing and therapeutic for recovering patients.
Also, dog owners have a greater chance of surviving after suffering from a serious illness. Several studies have discovered that pet owners who suffered from a heart attack were more likely to be alive a year after they were discharged from the hospital than those who did not own pets.
Another New York study found that pets affected their survival rate even more than the presence or company of family members or friends.
Fewer Visits To The Doctor
Studies conducted at Cambridge and UCLA have found that owning a pet corresponds to overall improved health and less need for hospital visits.
A Medicare study of elderly patients also discovered that those who own dogs visit the doctor less than those who don’t have a pet.
Patients with dogs have also been known to have better emotional health than their counterparts. They offer unconditional love and affection; their presence alone helps reduce loneliness for sick people who have been isolated.
Several studies of people with major illnesses have shown that the stress of fighting the disease significantly reduces when they have a dog as company.
Having a dog may be an excellent investment when considering the joy you get and the health benefits you can receive.