Therapy Dog Benefits

therapy dog benefits

Spending time with animals produces marked improvements in humans, affecting the physical, mental, emotional and social aspects of their well-being. Stress leads to an overproduction of stress hormones, and in-turn increased blood pressure, heart rate, and chance of heart attack and stroke. As you will see in the list, below, a visit with a therapy animal does much to reverse the effects of stress. Visiting with an animal can reduce anxiety without the need for medication, or elicit positive reminiscing in clients with progressed dementia. Therapy animal teams frequently witness measurable improvements as well, for example in visiting with chemotherapy patients in order to lower their blood pressure to a level acceptable for treatment. As we show below, there a multiple therapy dog benefits.

Therapy Dog Benefits- Mental Benefits

 Decrease in stress and anxiety, including that from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

 Decrease in depression, loneliness and feelings of isolation

 Decrease in aggressive behaviors

 Increase in socialization with an outward focus, including opportunities for laughter and a sense of happiness and well-being

 Increase in mental stimulation, attention skills, and verbal interactions

 Increase in spirit, self-esteem, and feeling of acceptance, enabling a patient to further participate in mental and physical therapy, to be more involved in group activities, and to accept social and emotional support

Therapy Dog Benefits- Physical Benefits

 Decrease in blood pressure

 Decrease in heart rate

 Decrease in the stress hormone cortisol

 Increase in hormones associated with health and a feeling of well-being, including beta-endorphin, beta-phenylethylamine, dopamine, oxytocin, prolactin and serotonin

 Increase in level of fitness by providing stimulus for exercise, with improvement in activities in which they were limited

 Improvement in fine motor skills, standing balance, wheelchair and other physical skills

In addition, the benefits listed above may result in a decrease in a person’s need for medications.