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Dogs And Puppies Reduce Stress, Anxiety And Depression

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A benefit to owning a dog; they help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.

Dogs are known to reduce anxiety, pain, and depression. They have been beneficial in helping deal with Post Traumatic Stress. Miami University offers pet therapy to students to help them with homesickness and depression, especially during finals.

Can my dog help my mental health?

There have been numerous studies on how interacting with dogs can help a person’s stress, anxiety depression, and other mental health issues. The National Center for PTSD states that owning a dog can lift your mood and help you feel less stressed. They help bring the feelings of love, are fun, contribute to reducing stress and are a great reason to get out of the house and meet new people.

Another article talks about a study of 48 hypertensive patients with high-stress occupations had agreed to get a dog or puppy (or cat). Their physiological responses to mental stress were measured before and after getting the pet. Those who did get a pet had a much lower systolic blood pressure which measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts) and diastolic blood pressure which measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood), heart rate, and plasma renin (plays a major role in the body’s regulation of blood pressure, thirst, and urine output) activity when exposed to mental stress than the participants who did not.

What is Pet Therapy?

Pet therapy can be used in many different ways. Goals of a pet therapy program can be to:

  • improve fine motor skills
  • improve assisted or independent movement
  • increase self-esteem
  • decrease anxiety or loneliness
  • increase verbal communication
  • develop social skills
  • increase willingness to join in activities
  • improve interactions with others
  • motivate willingness to exercise

 Pet therapy can offer support to many people including:

  • patients undergoing chemotherapy
  • residents in long-term care facilities
  • patients hospitalized with chronic heart failure
  • veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder
  • children having physical or dental procedures
  • stroke victims and physical therapy patients regaining motor skills