For many years people have been touting the effect of dogs on stress for various reasons. Medical dogs for hospital patients, companion pets for those affected by anxiety at home, post-traumatic stress patients and elongating and enriching the lives of owners worldwide. Recent studies have even shown that children who grow up near “furred animals” develop fewer allergies and have fewer breathing issues throughout life.
One professor at the University of California, Lynette Hart, PhD, says “Studies have shown that Alzheimer’s patients have fewer anxious outbursts if there is an animal in the home.” Dogs, because of their calming nature (when you find the right animal) provide constant care and love to Alzheimer’s patients who can fade in and out of lucidity (Davis). They help provide a lodestone for people having issues with grasping reality. The same has proven true when dogs have been given to autistic individuals.
Many times hospitals allow for Therapy pets, generally dogs, to be brought into hospitals. There they lift spirits and snuggle with those who need it most. Therapy pets in hospitals have been shows to speed up recovery in patients and to keep their spirits up. For patients with chronic or terminal diseases it can often be a highlight in their week because they either can’t care for a pet or spend so much time from home they can’t see their beloved dog.
The elderly gain benefits from owning dogs. They help keep the elderly moving as they care for the dogs with daily walks. It keeps the elderly active socially as they run into other dog walkers and make trips to vets and to pet stores for food. Also, the dogs keep the elderly company and can often be a source of amusement. Reduction in stress hormones and lower blood pressure are also shown to stem from dog ownership.
Dogs are also great at early detection of illness. Studies have shown that dogs can be trained to identify patients with bladder cancer by smelling urine (McGrath). Though dogs...