The Health Benefits Of Owning A Dog Are Many
Your companion dog is a health benefit!
From your dog’s perspective, the first greeting of the day and your return home from work are out-right celebrations. Congratulations! Your pet is functioning as a dog therapist, and you get the emotional and physical benefits from lessening of stress.
When the therapist is your dog, it’s the best!
Of the top health problems that can lead to illness and death, emotional stress and loneliness are factors. Emotional stress and loneliness alter neurochemical and vascular functions in humans, and these changes can increase susceptibility to major diseases. So, a healthy interaction with a companion dog is just plain good emotional therapy.
If you have room in your heart, dogs are good for your heart.
Pets can lower blood pressure, reduce stress and provide an outlet for people to play and exercise. The health benefits and emotional gratification by a relationship with a companion dog promotes feelings of friendship, security, a general well-being and self-assurance.
The emotional therapy received from our dogs, through their non-judgmental affection, helps relaxation and reduces tensions.
Scientists have known that stroking and petting your dog lowers the heart rate and blood pressure of the animal. We have come to realize that the same phenomenon occurs in the person doing the petting, a calming effect not very different than prayer and meditation. The positive effects are noted by the medical community at large and specifically the American Heart Association. People tend to live longer, with a better quality of life, when pets as companions are part of the day.
Our companion dogs offer us opportunity for play without competition and the seriousness of competitive sports with friends. Blood pressure and heart rates go down when we focus on the fun at hand.
Lack of exercise is another factor to major illness in people.
Your dog will help you put your best foot forward with an exercise routine that is mentally and physically therapeutic. That is dog therapy in action! Knowing your furry companion will depend on this routine will make it difficult to break this healthy, beneficial habit.
Can your dog be a therapist for others?
The relationship with a companion dog helps motivate the sick, infirmed, handicapped, and aged. Dogs trained to work with autistic children serve as a bridge between the child and their world, and nursing homes, hospitals and care facilities encourage visits by qualified pets. A wagging tail, affectionate eye contact, will lift almost anyone’s spirits.
Pet therapy was initiated in 1942 at the Army Air Force Convalescent Hospital in Pauling, New York. Veterans convalescing were encouraged to work with livestock, horses and poultry. We are familiar with the use of dogs to guide the blind and companion dogs used for the hearing-impaired and serving people in wheelchairs. Companion dogs carry things, retrieve dropped items and turn on lights. Dogs adapt to almost limitless training situations, all it takes is an alert dog, willing to learn, healthy and of medium to large size. Dogs are loyal, intelligent, and their trainability makes them ideal choices for companions and pet therapists.
The ideal dog therapist candidate:
The safety of the patient and well-being of the dog must be assured to guarantee the interaction is a rewarding experience.
Can you make time to participate in a dog therapy program?
It is not only a good deed, but you will treat yourself and your dog to a great feeling of satisfaction helping people by sharing your behaved therapy dog with the emotionally and physically less able. Many facilities for the aged and child care welcome such a selfless act of volunteerism.
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