Animal Therapy: 5 Ways Therapy Dogs Help Ease Stress and Help the Sick

Young Girl Being Visited In Hospital By Therapy Dog

Since the 1980s, significant advances have been made in the field of animal assisted therapy. These days, there are many organized therapy dog groups providing educational materials to volunteers. Breeds and individual dogs are screened for training by these organizations, and even insurance can be provided for those willing to enroll their canine companion in therapy duty.

Therapy dogs come in all shapes and sizes to meet the needs and comfort level of every patient, young or old. In someone’s greatest time of need, a therapy dog can provide solace and support, love and affection, joy and attention. A furry face can brighten a dark day, and help the ill get through the struggles of pain and discomfort.

Here are five ways therapy dogs help ease stress and pain for their ailing patients.

Dogs are a Distraction from the Stress of Surgery and Recovery

Humans are social beings, and no matter what level of human-to-human interaction we are comfortable with, we find ourselves needing companionship in everyday life. That need is magnified when facing the stress of uncertainty. Therapy dogs can bring just the right amount of quiet confidence to a situation that seems so scary. Children and the elderly alike can bond to their therapy dog after intense radiation therapy or serious surgery. Knowing someone is there to be with you and care is very comforting.

Terminally Ill Patients Don’t Have to Spend Their Final Days Alone

Everything changes when handed a terminal diagnosis. The thought of your days running out can be daunting. However, having a smiling face to greet you each day can make a huge difference in how you spend your final days. Companionship and warmth are two of the most important traits therapy dogs bring to the bedside.

Dogs are Source of Life to Lower High Blood Pressure

A chronic problem for the elderly is high blood pressure brought on by many factors of aging. A calm, affectionate influence like a therapy dog can be the best medicine for an over-worked and tired heart.

Therapy Dogs Help to Rebuild Motor Skills and Coordination

Major surgery or disorders that limit movement can be a major life hurdle for people. For those looking to increase motor skills and coordination, therapy dogs are here to help. Something as simple as feeding a therapy dog one Cheerio at a time helps to re-establish the brain’s connection to your fingertips. Working on standing and moving your legs while walking a therapy dog can make the process much easier. The alternative of staring at a blank wall is far less motivating.

Therapy Dogs Can be a Temporary Family

There are literally hundreds of reasons why family members can be unable to join their loved ones in the hospital. Accidents don’t always occur in your hometown, available treatments are not always available in your country, and tragedies are an unfortunate part of life. For those with no family to be with at the care center, a therapy dog can get to know you better than some humans.

If you are considering a therapy dog for your care center, school, hospital or nursing home, you can rest assured you are making a difference. Consider your dog for therapy work, and know that you are bringing cheer and happiness into a world that needs it most.