Look at these faces and just try to frown. Darn hard if not impossible, right? These two dogs could instantly change our mood and provided us with so many smiles we remained positive, even through the difficult times we faced as a young family in the 1990’s. This why I believe a fun loving dog will uplift your mood! Adults and children alike can benefit from a therapy dog.
How Can a Dog Uplift My Mood?
Once you have a dog, you’ll know that there’s nothing quite like a snuggle on the sofa while binge watching your favorite show. They also look adorable when they’re sleeping or posing for a picture, and your entire camera roll will soon be filled with photos of your new pal! Here is a picture of my therapy dog. She is also my registered companion dog!
A Better Night’s Sleep
Did you know that sleeping next to your furry canine pal can actually be good for you? A study by The Mayo Clinic found that you get a better night’s sleep along side of your dog. The researchers found that 40 healthy individuals slept better when next to a dog, no matter how big or small the dog was, or how much it moved in the night. Although in my experience, with our Pit Bull, be ready to fight for space!
Comfort, Companionship, and Love
When depression makes me feel lonely, my pet dogs have always broken the cycle. “A pet can remind you that you’re not alone,” says Desiree Wiercyski, a life coach in Fort Wayne, IN. “Pets offer unconditional love, which can be extraordinarily soothing when feeling isolated. My pup has been right beside me offering comfort and love, reminding me that things aren’t so bad.”
How Can I Benefit from Therapy Dog?
It is no secret that dogs make us happy. You know it’s true! In fact, according to “Google” 71% of dog parents believe that their dogs make them happier people, with 80% stating it is easier to wake in the morning because their dogs greet them.
A Dog Will Boost Your Mood
Study after study has shown that owning a pet can help you to maintain a more positive, optimistic perspective and can help you cope with life. I’ve said it before but I can attest to the fact dogs lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. There are many reasons why this might be true but consider this quote:
The human-animal bond bypasses the intellect and goes straight to the heart and emotions and nurtures us in ways that nothing else can.Author Unknown
Like Being On Ecstasy
Like the drug (which I DO NOT endorse), the desired effects of “Dog Ecstasy” is altered sensations, increased energy, empathy, as well as pleasure! Spending time with dogs, even just petting them can increase your level of oxytocin. Oxytocin, known as the “love hormone,” is a neurotransmitter that calms your nervous system down allowing you to relax.
Dogs Lower Stress Levels
Petting a dog not only ups your oxytocin but it can also lower your cortisol, a stress hormone. In line with this, another study conducted at the University of New York found that students experienced lower levels of stress when completing a difficult assignment if they had a pet with them. Studies in workplaces have also shown that taking dogs to work lowers your stress and even increases positive social interactions.
Fido Will Help You Socially
If you’re shy or simply not that confident in social situations, your dog can help you with this. As someone greets your dog, it’s only natural to strike up a conversation because you already have one common (i.e. dogs) and having these simple interactions can help up your confidence.
Your Dogo is a Means of Exercise
If you care for and love a dog , you take them out for walks and play with them. You keep them entertained. That means you are active throughout your day. Any kind of exercise can boost your physical health and mood. Clinical studies have shown that dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure which can lower the risk of heart-related illnesses.
5 Advantages of Dogs for Kids
My family’s pet Collie, “Bambi,” died she was 10 years old, and I was 12. That’s right, I grew up with her and I cried and cried over missing her so much. After some weeks I begged my parents for a new puppy. My mom and dad themselves grew up around dogs and were not concerned about the added chores and financial obligations that come when adopting a new puppy. They knew how beneficial “Bambi” had been to my health and development. Secretly, I needed the emotional support and got my wish when we adopted a Great Dane!
A Lesson in Responsibility
No matter how old you are, learning to care for a pet is an important life lesson and especially for a child, taking care of a living being has a much different meaning than say, being responsible for doing the dishes. From walking, bathing, feeding, and picking up after, a pet can seem like a lot of work but don’t consider it work, it’s a way to pass the time and the dog will love you for it.
Kids Who Grow Up With Dogs are Healthier
Recent studies in pediatric health have concluded that children who lived with pets (but especially dogs) during their first year of life actually had a better immune system than those who did not. They believe that exposure to dogs may have positively boosted the maturation of their immune system during infancy. In addition, when they did fall ill, they needed a shorter course of antibiotics compared to the children who did not live with pets. Aside from my genetic disorder, I have to admit I was a healthy kid!
Help With Allergies
A recent study has shown that children predisposed, by having at least one parent who suffers from respiratory allergies or asthma, are less likely to develop similar issues if they live with a dog in the house. They found that the early exposure is key. Children who had a dog after the first year of birth had no added health benefits.
Lower Risk for Eczema
Another study found that dogs can protect children who are at risk for eczema. In fact, they found that found children who did not have dogs in the home, were four times more likely to develop dog allergies and eczema than those who did.
A Boost to Emotional Intelligence
Do you know your IQ? I have no idea what mine is! A person’s IQ is one thing but what about emotional intelligence? Owning a dog allows children to practice these skills. The opportunity to care for another life can make your child more compassionate.
Professionals from Teachers to Veterinarians agree; “Having a pet is an INVALUABLE aid for helping children gain pride, caring, and empathy for the needs of themselves and others”.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that children with dogs in the home had reduced anxiety levels and reduced amount of perceived stress. They believe that kids who interact with dogs have increased levels of oxytocin released to their brain. In short, DOGS = HAPPINESS (but you probably already knew that).
Playtime and Exercise
Finding new ways to pry your kids tablet out of their hands can be challenging. Get this!! On average, children who have a dog in the home are shown to exercise at least 10 more minutes a day than kids without a dog. This might not seem like a lot, but they add up to over 5 hours a month!
Dogs Are Good Therapy
Did you know in 2020 the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 54 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (according to 2016 data). Non-profits, such as Good Dog! Autism Companions, have found that therapy dogs have an amazing impact on the quality of life and development of children.
I have witnessed my dog, Artemis, go to my granddaughter on several occasions when she gets ‘fidgety” and completely calm her down within seconds! She also senses my frustrations when my fingers get mixed up when typing on the keyboard. She says; “Time for a hug?”
Autism Therapy Support
- Provides a sense of security
- Decrease meltdowns
- Decrease anxiety (even acts of aggression)
- Increased willingness to try new things
- Ease tension in others at social gatherings because the dog can take focus off of the child
ADD and ADHD:
In a recent study, the CDC found the estimated number of children ever diagnosed with ADHD, according to a national 2016 parent survey was 6.1 million (9.4%). This number includes:
- 388,000 children aged 2–5 years
- 2.4 million children aged 6–11 years
- 3.3 million children aged 12–17 years
It is very concerning to me that the rate increases almost 2% with every passing year.
Benefits of Dog Therapy
Some of the benefits of a ADD or ADHD therapy dog include:
- Dogs help create consistency and a routine
- Provides an outlet for excess energy (exercise) to help with hyperactivity
- Dogs help children cope with isolation and depression
- They take the stress out of new social situations
All in all, adopting a dog may be one of the best decisions you ever make for yourself, or your child!It did wonders for me.
A Word From My Sponsor
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