Dogs are not only great companions as our pets, they can also serve a greater purpose for people with health problems. Whether it is a mental health issue or an ailment such as epilepsy, therapy dogs can be extremely loyal and helpful in times of crisis. If you’re wondering about whether a therapy dog would suit you, or if you just want more information about what therapy dogs actually do – read on!
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What Are Therapy Dogs?
Therapy dogs are specially trained dogs that aid people with mental health problems by warning them of upcoming attacks as well as comforting them in the process. They are also called psychiatric service dogs and help people with different psychiatric problems such as PTSD, Bipolar Disorder, Severe Depression, OCD, as well as those who suffer from panic and anxiety attacks. They are individually trained to address different difficulties that their owners may experience with regards to their disabilities, like assisting them in the event of a medical crisis, providing treatment related aid, coping with the emotional aspects of a mental health disability, as well as providing security for their owners to keep them from harm.
How Can A Therapy Dog Help With Your Anxiety?
Anxiety attacks can disrupt your daily life, but luckily therapy dogs can help you to avert or get over these attacks. Therapy dogs can aid you in the event of an anxiety attack by calming you down and comforting you when an attack comes. They can also be trained to bring you your medication as well as water to help drink it, a phone to call loved ones or your therapist with, even bring over someone to help you. Their licking can also help distract you from having an emotional overload, helping you overcome the attack much easier.
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7 Ways A Therapy Dog Can Help You Cope
Alert You To An Upcoming Attack
Dogs are naturally more perceptive than we are, so your therapy dog is likely to notice the signs of an anxiety or a panic attack earlier than you do. With this, they can alert you and intervene accordingly. They can immediately provide you with the comfort that you might need.
Give You What You Need
A specially trained therapy dog can provide you with something that a regular dog or an emotional support dog cannot. They are trained to give you your medication, as well as a phone to call emotional support with during times when you need it the most.
Put Your Well-Being First
A therapy dog will care about you and put your well-being first and foremost. They will not hesitate to alert you to an upcoming or escalating attack and will know exactly what you need when you need it.
Help you stay Grounded
When you’re experiencing emotional overload from an anxiety attack, it can be extremely difficult for you to stay grounded and aware of your surroundings. Your dog can provide you with appropriate stimulation through licking or deep pressure therapy to help you stay aware and not lose yourself in the overwhelming panic.
Help You Out
I mean this in more than one way, as service dogs can look for the nearest possible exit from a building and aid you out of it. This is especially useful if you start feeling claustrophobic and need to get out of a room or a building as soon as possible.
If you experience an attack in a public place, some strangers may try to help you out and instead do the opposite by crowding you. In this instance, your therapy dog can act as a barrier between you and the crowd.
Reduce Cortisol Levels
The hormone cortisol is related to stress, and if it goes up then that means your stress levels are high and your anxiety can be triggered. Being in a therapy dog’s presence can greatly help reduce these hormone levels. They can also increase your dopamine levels, which is called your happy hormones, to generally keep you happier and less susceptible to anxiety attacks.