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Do you own a pet dog? If yes, then what role does it play in your family? Most replies would read like this: “Our pet dog guards our home very well.” Or “My beloved dog is a loyal companion.” But dogs very humbly perform much bigger roles in the lives of their owners. They are armed with the power to cure the human mind. Data collected from studies that have been carried out in various corners of the world shows that dogs can help reduce stress levels.
In Melbourne a study was carried out on thousands of pet owners to analyze the positive effects of pets. It was concluded that pet parents showed a reduced risk to stroke and heart disease as well as lower cholesterol and blood pressure risk when compared to non pet owners.
When we adopt or rescue a dog we are willingly accepting our new role as a guardian; and eagerly take on the responsibility to care for another living being. For whom its master’s presence is indispensable and somewhere this bond of dependency helps renew the lost zest towards life in depressed individuals. Read on to understand better this dog therapy relationship.
Inherently dogs live in packs and they are naturally drawn to exhibit emotions such as loyalty and companionship to its pack members/family.
Dogs have a calming effect on its parent. The very act of stroking or petting a furry paw lowers heart rate and blood pressure. It can also boost up the mood of a person suffering from anxiety disorders and depression. Medical science has confirmed the psychological benefits of physical touch of this kind.
Puppy antics or doggy mischief can lift our mood instantaneously and make us smile or burst into laughter, no matter how low one felt initially.
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Your Pooch is your ticket to socializing
Dogs can be a conversation starter! And help break the awkward silence between strangers or acquaintances. The simple routine of taking your furry pal for a walk in the park enables one to exchange pleasantries with neighbors and other pet parents. Also the walking work out is not just a daily exercise routine for the pooch but the owner as well. Stepping out of the indoors in the fresh air and green environments leaving aside the computers, phones and the daily grind is not just invigorating but the stimulation is fit enough to help one get rid of any anxiety or depression.
Thus this exercise therapy entails a three way benefit.
These four legged creatures understand the language of our thoughts and emotional state. It has been observed that any command coming out of a stressed, upset or tensed master will not be taken seriously or followed by the pet dog. On the other hand calm, composed and positive energy will enable the parent to take on the role of a successful pack leader. This responsibility will ensure the owner learns to cope with hard situations, negative emotions and stress effectively. And mostly exude positivity and healthy energy.
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Florida University researchers have found out that dogs have an inborn ability to sense seizers and migraines that are about to occur by noticing tell tales such as shivering of the lips.
In the year 2006 a medical journal on Cancer therapies published that pet dogs can detect lung and breast cancer in patients (even before medical tests) by smelling their exhaled breath.
A trained pooch can help cure its master’s Obsessive compulsive disorder. It will intervene and attempt to stop the repetitive behavior by gently pushing or pawing him/her.
Studies are being performed to look for scientific evidence that can back claims suggesting a dog’s gift to identify drop in blood sugar levels before a patient can become aware of his/her own symptoms. In 2008, a PHD Psychologist named Deborah Wells at Queens University, Belfast, reported that pet dogs alerted their masters suffering from type 1 diabetes by poking or licking them when they experienced a serious drop in blood sugar levels.
We have all heard interesting anecdotes of dogs closely assisting their blind, crippled or handicapped owners. Besides some dogs are trained to work in a professional setting such as hospitals or clinics alongside therapists and medical workers to help patients respond effectively to treatment and achieve the desired goal.
Hence, they not only add vigor, playfulness and joy to our lives but come with profound psychological, physical and therapeutic benefits. It is very clear that these modest angels ease depression & loneliness, promote exercise, reduce stress levels and offer loyal companionship to young and old.