Healing Dog: Everything You Need to Know

 

alt text: dog comforting someone]

[meta-description: A healing dog can help people who struggle with disabilities, along with anyone else who needs a friend. Learn more about healing dogs in this post.]

Dogs are known as man’s best friend, which is why millions of people around the world keep a canine companion by their side. While dogs are man’s best friend, being friendly and loyal aren’t their only strong suits. In fact, more and more people are turning to dogs for healing.

Whether it’s a service dog helping with a disability or a therapy dog that comforts people in a nursing home, dogs have become more than just friends.

This article takes you through everything you need to know about healing dogs. We cover what they are, how you can get one, and who benefits the most from having them. Read on to learn more.

What Is a Healing Dog?

A healing dog is any dog that’s helping someone heal. This can be something as simple as having a dog that encourages someone to get out of bed in the morning, or as complex as a dog that provides therapy and comfort to help someone manage a panic attack.

Healing dogs can also be personal companions that help with a mental health disability or therapy dogs that help large groups of people feel more comfortable and relaxed.

That said, most definitions of a healing dog refer to emotional support animals (ESAs) or therapy dogs. Service dogs are usually working dogs and perform more complex tasks like opening doors or guiding people who are blind as opposed to healing.

Who Needs a Healing Dog?

Anyone can benefit from a healing dog. According to the latest peer-reviewed research, anyone who has a mental health disorder can benefit from a healing dog. In fact, even people with other health conditions or no health conditions at all can benefit from healing dogs because they tend to improve someone’s mood and happiness, which are closely correlated with health and wellness.

That said, businesses and public organizations that work with many people benefit the most from healing dogs because therapy dogs work best for groups of people as opposed to bonding with a specific person.

How Healing Dogs Help

There are a few ways that healing dogs can help but the two most common healing methods are animal-assisted therapy and emotional support.

The biggest difference between these healing methods comes down to the training level of the dog and how many people the dog is healing. For example, dogs trained for animal-assisted therapy tend to be therapy dogs who help large groups of people, while support dogs bond with a single person.

Animal-Assisted Therapy

One of the most common uses of a healing dog is for animal-assisted therapy. These dogs are known as therapy dogs and they can help people who have mental health conditions manage them properly.

Some well-trained therapy dogs can employ techniques like deep pressure therapy, which applies to pressure to someone having a panic attack. This targeted pressure helps them get through the attack and is useful for people who have anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Aside from mental health conditions, therapy dogs can also bring comfort to people who need it, along with happiness and joy in people who lack it. This is done through therapy dogs that go around to each person and attempt to cheer them up through smiling, playing, and sitting with them. These types of therapy dogs are commonly found in nursing homes, hospice centers, and hospitals.

Emotional Support Dogs

Another type of healing dog is the emotional support dog or ESD. These dogs don’t require any training but you can always train them to help with deep pressure therapy if needed.

ESDs bond with one person and help just by being there. For example, their presence can encourage someone to get out of bed or make them feel less lonely. While less intensive, ESDs can help people with mental health issues like anxiety, loneliness, and depression heal.

Adopt a Healing Dog Today

Healing dogs are a great way to help people with emotional distress begin the healing process.

Whether it’s something like loneliness, or a more complex issue like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), adopting a healing dog might be the right solution. If you have a business that works with people who suffer from mental health disorders it’s never a bad idea to consider healing dogs.

The adoption process for therapy dogs is a breeze, and you don’t have to worry about the high training costs associated with service animals. Therefore, they can help you save money, heal people, and take your business to the next level.