All my spirits to work more determinedly every next day smashed on the ground as soon as I would hit the bed for sleep. It took me hours to get out and make something out of life. Yes, it’s distressing for you and your loved ones. Medicines were no help, so the psychiatrist recommended me to get a therapy dog for real results. Emotional support dog or service dog or therapy dog has zero side-effects and produces workable solutions. So you may wonder exactly how can therapy dogs treat anxiety and depression?
A professionally trained dog is expensive, and you may have to wait for years in a queue. So, the best thing is to get a companion dog and teach him to pick up on your stress or anxiety triggers, and immediately take action. My black Labrador, Leo, quickly learnt his lessons to get me out of trouble, and in return, I love to fulfill his little demands.
Therapy dogs help us in various ways:
Mental Health and Wellness:
Therapy or non-therapy dogs, both, are equally helpful for the mental health of people, as they are always there for you. According to a survey conducted by Human-Animal Research Institute, around 74 percent of pet-owners claimed that their pets helped to improve their mental health.
Deep Pressure Therapy:
For anxiety and stress, deep pressure therapy has proven to be calming during panic attacks. Dogs know how to climb up on the owner’s chest to apply pressure when required. The pressure therapy helps to lessen and shorten the severity of anxiety or panic attacks. No medicines, no clinical treatment, and a natural cure can be at your doorstep!
Short-term Interactions with Therapy Dogs:
Sandra Barker, psychology professor and director at Virginia Commonwealth University, suggests that short interactions with the therapy dogs are proven to lessen fear and anxiety according to different studies. A survey report reveals that depressed people felt calm and relaxed when they came in contact with therapy dogs and spent some time with them.
People suffering from depression and anxiety are not interested in maintaining contact with the outer world due to fear, stress, and lack of zeal to go out. They stay trapped in their mind, which worsens the situations for them. Therapy dogs help them socialize well but keep the strangers and negative-minded people at bay.
Studies have shown that dogs can read emotions and often pick the emotions of the owner. You will never watch your dog enjoying and jumping around the house when you are upset. The therapy dogs are well-trained and can help you change the mood. But depression and anxiety prone dog breeds are difficult to train, and can easily pick up on your emotions. So, the difference between therapy dogs and other dogs is a considerable one.
Therapy dogs can understand the cue of our moods through our body language, the tone of voice, gestures, and expressions. They get restless when they are unable to understand your state of mind. Like a child, they want to enjoy your happy moods and companionship. Dr. Katie Kangas, the co-founder of Pet Wellness Academy, describes the mental state as:
“Anxiety and depression involve emotional turmoil and negative internal ‘self-talk.’”
Therapy dogs are mainly trained to perform the job of recognizing the symptoms, and interrupting the vicious cycle of thoughts before it begins.
Taking the owner—a depressed or stressed out person—for physical activity or a long walk is no less than therapy. Physical exercise has positive effects on the body, and the feel-good hormones, the endorphins, are released in the body.
Dogs can get people out of the vicious trap of negative thoughts by asking the owners to fulfill their physical needs like food, walk, etc. Dogs give a direction and purpose to the life of people.
Heart and Head Health:
Dog owners have mentally and physically balanced and stable personalities. They have a good head and heart health that improves the quality of their life. The American Heart Association studies show that pet owners, specifically the dog owners, are at a lower risk of developing heart diseases, high BP, hypertension, and depression. They live longer than others’.
Whether you are thinking to bring home a companion dog or a therapy dog for the suffering loved one, you should try it out as soon as possible.