Therapy Dog Benefits

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Benefits of Therapy Dogs By Ruthie Reed Do you love and enjoy the presence of having a dog or playing with one? Most people do but do not realize the benefits of doing it. Although this is unknown to many, including a dog in a therapy session can improve one's health just by petting it. The use of therapy dogs has many benefits for physical health, mental health, and the development of social skills. First of all, therapy dogs can help improve people's physical health in many ways.(1,2,3) One way that people's physical health can be benefited is by helping chronic pain.(3) In a study, patients pain levels were reduced by at least 2 points on a scale from 1-10 (10 being more painful) after having a therapy dog session.(3) This happens by doing …show more content…

Therapy dogs can also impact people with mental health disorders.(4,5,6) One way they can do this is by helping people with depression.(4,5) It is believed that when someone pets an animal, “feel good neurotransmitters” called endorphins are released which can be extremely helpful and beneficial for those going through depression.(5) Another way that depression can be improved by therapy dogs is that patients often forget about their own problems when in the presence of a dog because their attention is drawn to it and its needs.(5) Hormones such as serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin is also released by interacting with an animal which can play a major part in elevating moods.(6) Therapy dogs can also help people who are struggling with anxiety.(4) This occurs because people often feel more confident, increase comfort and can create a joyful distraction from anything they may be worried about when a dog is around.(4,6) Therapy dogs can also increase patients emotional well being.(5) A study showed that after a group of troubled female prisoners had a session with a therapy dog staff members reported improved emotional wellbeing as well as behavior.(5) The presence of a dog can also make people feel less lonely and can help patients develop nurturing skills as well as empathy.(5) To sum it all up, therapy dogs have many ways of helping people who struggle with different mental health …show more content…

One way they can do this is by helping the way that children interact with other people.(9) In a study with 2 children that had limited social skills they had reduced negative language, increased patients and a sense of control after a weekly 45-60 minute therapy session with a dog.(9) This is important because once they become an adult these skills will be very crucial and important to them. Therapy dogs can also help to build and improve social habits.(8) One way this happens is that being around the dog can help the child to become conscious of other people as well as their surroundings.(8) The dog can also be a model for the child to show how to react in certain situations.(8) Patients were also shown to pick social cues easier after having therapy sessions with a dog.(8) Lastly, therapy dog session helped kids to be more focused and to interact more in class.(7) An example of this is when 3 kids showed an increase of positive behaviors and a decrease in negative ones after sessions with the dog.(7) This shows us that children with developmental disabilities can benefit from using dogs as teaching and therapeutic assistance.(7) To wrap it all up, dogs can be very beneficial in the process of developing social

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