Dog therapies, also known as animal-assisted therapies, have been shown to have various benefits for people’s physical, mental and emotional health. These therapies involve interaction with specially trained and supervised dogs, and can have a positive impact on a variety of situations and conditions.
In fact, they have proven effective in helping people improve their mental and physical health. This is because dogs have a number of characteristics that make them ideal for therapeutic work. These animals have a friendly and compassionate nature, which allows them to establish a close relationship with patients. In addition, dogs are very intelligent and have the ability to understand and respond to human stimuli. This skill allows them to interact with patients in a deeper and more meaningful way.
Therapy with dogs
Some ways in which dog therapies can help heal or improve quality of life are as follows:
- Stress and anxiety reduction: Interaction with dogs can lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and release endorphins, resulting in a sense of calm and well-being. This is especially helpful for people experiencing anxiety, chronic stress or mood disorders.
- Mood enhancement: The presence of dogs and interaction with them can increase the release of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters associated with happiness and emotional well-being. This can be beneficial for those struggling with depression or loneliness.
- Social stimulation: Dogs can act as a bridge for social interaction, especially in shy or socially challenged individuals. The presence of a dog can open up conversations and help establish connections with others.
- Improved self-esteem and confidence: A relationship with a dog can foster a sense of responsibility and accomplishment, which can help improve self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Physical stimulation and rehabilitation: In certain therapies, dogs may participate in physical exercise and rehabilitation activities. This is useful for people recovering from injuries or illnesses that require movement and activity.
- Emotional support: Emotional support dogs can provide comfort and support in times of emotional distress or crisis, providing companionship and unconditional affection.
- Therapy for children with special needs: Dogs can be part of therapeutic programs for children with physical disabilities or developmental disorders, helping to improve their communication, motor and emotional skills.
It is important to mention that therapies with dogs do not replace medical or psychological treatments, but can complement them and improve people’s quality of life. In addition, not all dogs are suitable to be part of assisted therapies; those that participate in these activities must be specially selected and trained to ensure a safe and positive interaction with the people they assist.
That is, there are dogs that have been specifically trained to assist people with different conditions in a special way.
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