Sure, a lick to the face from your furry friend is sometimes all it takes to bring a smile to your face, but if your stress and anxiety runs deeper than that, turning to your pup for help may be just what the doctor ordered.
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Signs a Dog Can Help with Anxiety
In fact, new research shows that service dogs and companion animals are extremely effective in treating anxiety and improving overall health and well-being. Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are wonderful therapy animals that can help lift your spirit and bring you back to life. If you are struggling with the small things in your life or just can't get out of a funk, it may be time to turn to Fido for help.
Many people who suffer from anxiety avoid contact with other people and the outside world at all costs, which often makes things worse. Dogs are a wonderful way to break that cycle, as they provide comfort and a sense of purpose for those struggling with anxiety. If you or someone you know is suffering from severe anxiety, a companion dog may help in many different ways.
- Wag tail
- Ears drop
These are ways a dog can help with anxiety:
- Constant companionship
- Increase in exercise
- Helps you meet new people
- Adds structure and routine to your day
- Provides sensory stress relief
- Helps you stay connected
History of Dogs Helping with Anxiety
During the First World War, Germany relied heavily on dogs as both ambulance and messenger dogs, and since then, programs aimed at training dogs for many purposes have popped up all over the world. The first school focused on training dogs to help deaf people launched in 1982, and since then we have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of similar schools.
Science Behind Dogs Helping with Anxiety
When it comes to dogs and anxiety, the research is relatively new. Sure, dogs undoubtedly lift our moods and bring more joy to our lives, but where's the scientific proof? In recent years, numerous studies have been conducted that display how beneficial pets, namely dogs, are to our health.
This is especially true for individuals who suffer from anxiety and depression. While owning a dog is certainly not a cure for mental illness, it can be quite beneficial for those who have the time and money to care for a dog. Dogs require time and attention and can also impact your social activity, however, the benefits of having a loving dog in your life are endless.
People who suffer from anxiety often find themselves 'spinning' and getting caught up in a cycle of negative thoughts, something which dogs can help get you out of. If are plagued with anxiety, can afford a dog and have the time to properly care for them, it is certainly something to consider.
Training Your Dog to Help with Anxiety
If you want to go the professional route, there are probably numerous agencies and organizations in your city that offer ESA and service animal training. You may start with reaching out to local shelters and finding out about their adoption services, as bringing a dog of any breed into your home for companionship may be the ticket to getting over anxiety.
Safety Tips for Using Dogs for Anxiety
Don't forgo medical treatment without talking to your healthcare professional.
Select a dog with the right temperament to decrease stress levels instead of increase them.
Always seek professional dog training before using your pooch as a therapy dog.