Dogs, Nature’s Best Antidepressants
Science confirms – dogs make a difference!
Professionally trained service animals—such as Guide Dogs, Alert Dogs, or Special Needs Dogs for the physically disabled offer obvious benefits to humans.
There is more and more evidence that we have only just started to really understand the many therapeutic and health benefits that Service, “Surfice”, Therapy and Companion dogs can provide.
Benefits of Caring For or Petting a Dog or Puppy
A dog is not a substitute for proper medical diagnosis or treatment, but there is scientific evidence that caring for and petting a dog can help
- reduce anxiety
- lower blood pressure
- reduce fatigue
- increase interest in life
- ease loneliness
- increase focus
Dogs can fulfill a basic human need for affection and touch.
In our Puppies and Dogs Make A Difference episodes, Dr Stanley Coren explains that there can actually be chemicals released in the brain when you pat, cuddle and smell a puppy or dog that in some cases, are similar to the effect of taking anti-depressants or holding a human baby.
Dr Fogel explains they can provide a source of positive non-verbal communication. Dogs have been shown to calm some kids with autism or anxiety, and even adults with Alzheimers. The body pressure and presence can also help those with PTSD. The American Heart Association has linked the ownership of pets, especially dogs, with a reduced risk for heart disease, greater longevity and fewer health issues.
Therapy and Service Dogs
The many wonderful therapy dogs we have met bring smiles to the faces of people in hospitals, rehab centres, disaster areas and nursing homes. Some can help kids read out loud or cope with exams in schools and libraries or deal with other stress or loss.
Laughter and dogs really may be the best medicine.
Laughter and dogs really may be the best medicine, and they are all natural, with no additives, no preservatives, no judgements, no criticisms (except the looks my pug Kilo gives me if I don’t give him food he wants).
Just be warned though, side effects of caring for a dog may include weight loss from walking more, participation in dog sports, higher spending on treats and pet products, more social interaction, more compassion, better mood, and of course participation in twitter chats and blog hops like this, and blogging, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and other Social Media
Check out our story of Bocker Labradoodle HERE, Braydon and Autism Assistance Dog Keats HERE, Max and NSD Chester HERE, Gizmo the Wonderdoglet HERE, Muttley Cyrus HERE, NSD Flicka HERE, Surf Dog Ricochet HERE. We will be featuring more amazing Service and Therapy dogs from our community each week.
Interesting study on the dog human bond with mothers in US http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-10-neurobiological-basis-human-pet-relationship.html