- The Benefits And Role Of Therapy Dogs
- Qualities Of A Therapy Dog
- What Do Therapy Dogs Do? – Conclusion
- Where Are You Going?
Experts have discovered how animal-assisted therapy can offer relief from anxiety-provoking situations. Therefore, dogs are trained to be therapy dogs. So, what do therapy dogs do?
Therapy dogs are trained to provide psychological and emotional support to their owners. They are affectionate animals and are very comforting to people in their lowest times.
Therapy dogs are very resourceful in various institutions and are comforting to people living with mental conditions. This article will explain what therapy dogs do in various institutions and how they help people with special medical needs.
The Benefits And Role Of Therapy Dogs
Various institutions use therapy dogs to provide comfort and affection to those in need in nursing homes, schools, hospitals, etc. Here are some ways therapy dogs help in various institutions and for certain conditions:
What Do Therapy Dogs Do In School?
Students face challenges both in and outside the school environment. Sometimes, it is difficult for them to manage the workload from school or interaction with their peers.
Therapy dogs have been introduced in schools to interact with students. It appears that these dogs have been associated with helping students going through difficult situations manage distress and trauma.
Apart from that, they help to keep students who might be rather passive physically and mentally active. Furthermore, students who have bipolar disorder and PTSD can manage their symptoms with the help of therapy dogs.
Therefore, these dogs are significant in helping improve the moods of students and helping them function efficiently while in school.
What Do Therapy Dogs Do In Hospitals?
The hospital is filled with patients with various health conditions. Some of these are mental conditions, while others are physical. Therapy dogs can ease the stress experienced by patients dealing with mental disorders in psychiatric hospitals.
Some medical practitioners encourage interactions with these animals to help raise oxytocin and reduce stress hormones in patients. The hormone cortisol is responsible for increased stress and sugar levels in the body. Therapy animals are an alternative to medications used to reduce the stress-causing hormones in patients.
Meanwhile, oxytocin has been proven to enhance mood. It improves the behavior of patients with mental conditions and helps them manage symptoms such as paranoia, apathy, etc.
Furthermore, oxytocin is often prescribed to women who have complications during delivery, especially those whose uterus is not contracting. Lastly, therapist dogs help hypertensive patients lower their blood pressure.
What Do Therapy Dogs Do At Home?
Therapy dogs are very comforting, and this makes them great companions. Therefore, they are fantastic to have as part of the family, especially those dealing with loneliness or losing a loved one.
Furthermore, animal-assisted therapy can help discharged patients recover from complicated surgeries or accidents more quickly.
They can also help reduce the stress and anxiety people face in their work and interactions with others.
Those with mental illnesses may be able to participate in daily activities at home with the help of these animals. Having them in the house will be comforting to parents and children alike.
What Do Therapy Dogs Do For Anxiety?
People deal with anxiety in their day-to-day activities. Besides, certain patients are diagnosed with anxiety disorders. Anxiety can increase a person’s stress level.
Again, an anxiety disorder can make it difficult for people to function effectively. Therapy dogs help these people manage their anxiety and reduce stress hormones.
Because they are comforting animals, medical practitioners are beginning to recognize the needs of people dealing with anxiety disorders. Even schools introduce them in classrooms to help students with anxiety-related mental disorders.
Since they can help produce oxytocin and reduce cortisol levels, animal-assisted therapy is encouraged to deal with anxiety and stress.
What Do Therapy Dogs Do For Autism?
One of the challenges of autistic patients is the ability to socialize with others. Interaction with these animals can help autistic children form better relationships with the people around them.
Furthermore, autistic patients often have high stress levels. Therapy dogs help autistic patients deal with anxiety and calm their nerves whenever they have a meltdown.
Having a therapy dog can also provide companionship for people with autism at school, home, work, and other social gatherings.
What Do Therapy Dogs Do For Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
People with ADHD often have trouble focusing and managing time. Because of these challenges, they are mostly unable to take on responsibilities.
However, owning a therapy can help these patients overcome those challenges. Dogs are like kids, and owning one could teach these patients how to take on responsibilities, prioritize and manage time.
For instance, they would learn how to manage their other aspects of life while grooming a dog at the same time. Additionally, companionship from therapy dogs can help children who have ADHD reduce stress and anxiety that may arise from multitasking, etc.
What Do Therapy Dogs Do For Depression?
Anxiety and stress are common symptoms of depression. While antidepressants that contain serotonin help ease these symptoms, endorphins are also vital for relieving stress and anxiety.
Studies suggest that endorphins are released whenever we exercise. Therefore exercising with a dog can be a therapy for patients with depression who need to induce endorphins.
Besides, loneliness is a condition that aggravates depression. Hence, owning a pet provides companionship and helps reduce loneliness for depressed patients.
Moreover, owning a dog encourages these patients to go outdoors, especially when they have to exercise their pets. Also, it can help them reduce the feeling of loneliness whenever they socialize with other dog owners.
Qualities Of A Therapy Dog
For dogs to become therapy dogs, they need to meet specific standards. If your dog is naturally social around other pets and people, it may make a good therapy dog. Because these dogs serve as therapeutic aids for people coping with anxiety and stress, they need to be calm.
So, if your dog typically jumps or barks unnecessarily, it cannot ideally be a therapy dog; they must not engage in behaviors that can increase anxiety or panic.
Amongst other things, a therapy dog should be:
- Enjoys human touch
Using animals for therapy should be encouraged for the comfort and support they provide. If your dog possesses the qualities of a therapy dog, consider training it to become a therapy dog.
More importantly, kids should be encouraged to interact with therapy animals to help them deal with anxiety and stress.
What Do Therapy Dogs Do? – Conclusion
Dogs are great pets and natural human companions. These, among other qualities highlighted in this article, make them excellent therapy animals.
Many of the benefits of therapy dogs have been backed up with scientific studies. For this reason, hospitals and other institutions embrace them as part of the healthcare they provide.
Both therapy and service dogs are crucial to help people with certain conditions participate in day-to-day activities. Therefore it’s ideal for people suffering from depression, ADHD, autism, anxiety, etc., to own one of these animals.
Nevertheless, dogs are not the only animals that provide comfort and emotional support. Other therapy animals are cats, guinea pigs, horses, rabbits, etc.