Mental Health

Dogs- The Best Medicine for Stress

Introduction

The competitions in this world are endless and always rising. In life, every step we take is to be better than someone else or be the best at something. This enforces a lot of stress build up in mind. These problems vary with age range, generation gap, and sexuality. But while we are talking about these problems let’s not forget about the other physical effects too.
Some people just stop living since they cannot open up in front of others in fear of getting judged. These thoughts and emotions get piled up, leading them to sustain a life which is very much unhealthy and breaks down the mental fitness more and more every day.

Stress
Stress

What is stress?

Stress is your body’s response when some change is occurring irrespective of whether it is good or bad. The body responds to these changes mentally, physically and emotionally. Stress has now become a very regular routine of our everyday life.
All stress responses are not harmful. In fact, the human body is curated to cope up with stress and adapt to the situation. The problem comes when the body doesn’t get adequate time to adjust or relax in between two stressors. This results in the body’s natural systems to crash down slowly, and the person starts feeling overwhelmed with their stress tensions building up.

The autonomic nervous system has a response to cope up with stress tension, i.e., the “fight or flight response.” This response gets chronologically activated when the body shows signs of stress. The prolonged activation of this response can cause the body to wear down both mentally and physically.

The most negative stress reaction is called distress. Distress can have many symptoms like headaches, stomach upset, high blood pressure, sexual dysfunctions, sleeping problems, etc.

What are the symptoms of stress?

Stress always knocks before coming, and when it arrives, it messes up a lot with your mind and body. The warning signs of stress are-

  •  Dizziness
  •  Feeling left out

    stress brain functioning
    stress brain functioning
  •  Aches and pains (can range from minor to major)
  •  Headaches
  •  Low metabolism
  •  Frequent loss of appetite
  •  Sleeping problems
  •  Heart beating fast
  • Excessive sweating in palm
  •  Exhaustion or lack of energy
  •  Shaking
  •  Weight changes
  •  Sexual problems

What are the non-medicinal ways to reduce stress?

There are various kinds of medicine that aids in de-stressing an individual, but all the times popping a pill is not an option. There are other non-medicinal ways to reduce the level of stress.

  •  Keeping a positive attitude
  •  Talking
  •  Meditation
  •  Exercising
  •  Eating healthy meals
  •  Taking up different hobbies and interests
  •  And the most effective one for most of the individuals are keeping a dog

Dogs have proven to be very effective in reducing not only stress but also other mental illnesses like anxiety, depression. OCD and even eradicate suicidal tendencies. Loving a dog releases oxytocin in the human body, which is a bonding hormone and lowers the degree of stress and also makes the heart act appropriately.

What is dog therapy?

Pet therapy is based on the pre-existing bond between animals and humans. Humans and animals have always bonded since the start of civilizations. Pet therapy is also known as animal-assisted therapy (AAT). These therapies are more effective when the animal turns out to be a dog.

Dog Therapy
Dog Therapy

Our ancient ancestors bred dogs for hunting and companionship. They are known to be the most faithful and loyal to their owners and are one of the most intelligent breeds of animals.
Dog therapy helps in improving the overall cardiovascular health. It also releases endorphins and enforces a calming effect. This eliminates not only mental pain but also physical pain.

Who all should receive dog therapy?

  1.  Patients receiving chemotherapy

    Dog Therapy 2
    Dog Therapy 2
  2.  Patients dealing from long term illness
  3.  Patients with abnormal cardiovascular situations
  4.  People suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  5.  Children suffering from Alzheimer’s and other mental illnesses
  6.  Stroke victims trying to improvise their motor skills
  7.  People with severe mental health disorders

Many times during a critical surgery or post it, many patients feel less anxious when a dog is present. The presence of the animal gives them new hope to deal with the pain. They feel more motivated when acting with a dog, and they tend to interact more with the healthcare providers resulting in the betterment of their health.

What are the other benefits of having a dog?

While respective healthcare units own therapy dogs, your own canine can be much useful rather than being only a cuddle buddy. Apart from evading stress, there are many other benefits of keeping a dog.

  •  Heart health-
    A dog makes your heart stronger. Having a canine as your companion can reduce the blood pressure levels, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. This means you have fewer tendencies to get a heart attack, and even if someone faces a heart attack, their survival rates are more than people without a dog.
  •  Fitness-
    Keeping a dog is not easy. Therapy dogs are taken care of by the healthcare unit themselves. But

    Health Benefits
    Health Benefits

    when you have a pooch of your own maintain its lifestyle will eventually make you more fit and active, because it will involve long strolls in outside and everyone knows that walking has lots of health benefits including weight loss. Sometimes the dogs love to run, and you are running with them not only will make your health better built will also help you to gain your dog’s attention.

  • Social life-
    After a dog comes in your life, your social side grows up because the dog acts as a catalyst in building up friendship and relationship. Dog owners can open up easily because who doesn’t want to talk about their furry best friends.
  •  Hope to live-
    With the growing age, people start losing their hopes to live anymore. But if a canine is present in their life, it adds a meaning and responsibility which gives them confidence. A canine companionship even evades their loneliness and isolation, and they fall less and less prey to diseases and illness.
  •  Depression-
    Dogs Smell Depression
    Dogs Smell Depression

    Depression has become a growing concern for nowadays world. Though there have been many therapies present to tackle depression, many people find their relaxation in the companionship of a dog. Dog’s senses are more accurate and sharper than humans, and hence they can tell when their owner or the person they working with is depressed and needs some wet kisses

  •  Allergies in children-
    Dogs can reduce the proximity of allergies in children, making them safer. Children and dogs they bond very well, and this leads to a positive growth in both the child and in the dog.
  •  Diseases and injury-
    Dogs can reduce the risks of diseases and injury. Many dogs are trained to sniff out prostate, bladder, kidney, or skin cancer. Service dogs can aid people with traumatic brain injury, autism, rheumatoid arthritis, increases their mobility, and makes them more independent.

What dog breeds are the most efficient therapy dogs?

Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever

Though all types of dogs can be therapy dogs, some dogs need individual licenses to be used in therapy.Dogs like Rottweilers and Pit Bulls can get really aggressive and can harm the patient. If you need a pit bull to calm you down, you need to have a proper certificate of agreement. The dog breeds which are naturally a therapy dog by their birth are Golden Retrievers and Labradors.

These two dog breeds are considered as the gentlest, friendliest, and adaptive bre4eds. They can adapt is any type of environment and can immensely love the owner or the patient they are working with. Their companionship gives a warm and secure feeling.

Conclusion

Golden Retriever Puppy
Golden Retriever Puppy

It is always very nice to have a fur baby in your lap or at your house. But the point of consideration comes when it is the time for taking responsibilities. Therapy dogs can never become your pet, and one day you have to leave them, so you should be prepared for that separation time as soon as your therapy starts. Dog therapy has been proven very effective in various sectors of medicine, and researchers are still trying to find out more ways to give 100% accuracy to it.

 

FAQs

  •  What is dog therapy?

Dog therapy is a kind of medical treatment which enables the patient to recover faster with the aid of dogs working towards their betterment.

  •  Can any dog be a therapy dog?

Yes, any dog can be a therapy dog but some aggressive breeds need licenses to keep. The best one are Golden Retrievers and Labradors.

  •  How can a dog benefit my health?

A dog enforces positivity and confidence mentally and heal your physical pain with their comforting behaviour. Keeping a dog also improves your lifestyle.

  •  Who all can receive dog therapy?

Dog therapy can be given to anyone but specially it is for people going through trauma or lot of stress and anxiety. People suffering from pain after major surgeries can also be given dog therapy which will enable them to heal fast.

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Betti Stone

Hi, let me cordially welcome you to medical market news. I am Bettie, the chief editor of the website. I have gathered years of experiencing in this website and not only experience but also memories. I have to manage the dynamic editorial team and oversee all strategy and content initiatives. Though I love my job a lot sometimes, I even enjoy the fresh air outside and hence take a walk during a break and re-energise myself.

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