Do Therapy Dogs Help Improve Overall Health?

Do Therapy Dogs Help Improve Overall Health?

Therapy dogs are pets that improve health by giving emotional support. You may train your dog to be a therapy dog to provide support to yourself and others, but they are animals that basically help support growth and better functioning. They can visit a variety of settings, including retirement or nursing homes, hospice homes, and hospitals. They are trained to be gentle and friendly and willing to accept strangers being around. Find out more about therapy dogs and how they help improve overall health.

Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs

Service dogs are trained to perform certain tasks on behalf of their owners. They receive rigorous, high-end, task-oriented training aimed at helping their owners overcome disabilities. They allow dogs to accompany their owners in public places. Therapy dogs are sometimes called ‘comfort dogs.’ They support a person’s mental health by providing attention and comfort. They provide a benefit to those who face difficult health challenges. Anyone can enjoy a therapy dog.

They do not have the same privileges for appearing with owners in restricted public spaces unless special permission is provided ahead of time. They must be invited to provide the comfort therapy.

How Therapy Dogs Boost Health

Some mental health challenges and psychiatric disorders are known to respond well to therapy dogs. People diagnosed with a range of issues benefit from interaction with therapy pets. Sometimes, emotional challenges are the result of physical health problems. Therapy dogs can help with those, too. Experts suggest people in recovery from difficult surgery or a bad accident may heal more quickly with the help of therapy animals. The interactions with animals can increase mood-boosting hormones oxytocin and dopamine that decrease the stress hormone cortisol.

Therapy Dog Criteria

Any type of dog breed may be considered for therapy. With a bit of training, larger breeds may work well or smaller breeds are good choices, as well. The dog’s good demeanor may be a function of breed but it is mostly dependent on how they dog is raised and on temperament. Dogs are tested and observed for responses and they will react accordingly.

If you would like to learn more about finding a therapy dog to help yourself or a loved one, there are a number of directories online. An online search for ‘therapy dogs’ will bring up lots of places to find support. A recovery program may also have some resources available. If you are interested in learning about training a dog for therapy work, do a web search for training and include the name of your city or town to see what opportunities are available. This can help you locate ones that will serve your needs.

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.