Benefits of Therapy Dog or Keeping Dogs for PTSD Survivors
For some people, having a dog is believed to provide many benefits. Besides being able to reduce stress, dogs can also be loyal friends. Friendly dog behavior makes this animal a favorite pet. Having a dog can have a positive effect on a person. Dogs can make their owners feel needed. In addition, looking into the eyes of a dog or other pet can also increase levels of oxytocin (the love hormone) and create a bond between owner and dog.
Stroking a dog is also believed to provide peace for the owner and help the owner to relax more. One study published by Harvard Health states that having a pet, especially a dog, can be beneficial for their owners, such as having more normal blood pressure than people who don’t have pets.
In addition to these various benefits, keeping a dog can actually have a positive impact on PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) survivors. PTSD is a post-traumatic mental disorder, such as the trauma of war, natural disasters, or domestic violence. Not only experiencing, people who see and witness the traumatic event can also experience trauma.
In addition, people with PTSD can recall the trauma when reminded again, avoiding things that trigger memories of the trauma, depression, anxiety, and disturbed sleep. Although there is not enough research on the relationship between dogs and PTSD, reported by PTSD: National Center for PTSD US Department of Veterans Affairs, owning a dog can reduce stress, make good friends, and can release feelings of love.
Dogs can also be commanded. This can have a positive effect on veterans who are used to giving orders to their military forces. Dogs can also be an excuse to get out of the house and spend more time outside, such as in the park and meeting new people.
Apart from functioning as therapy animals, dogs can also function as service animals and Emotional Support Animal, Fast ESA letter said. Service dogs are tasked with helping those with physical disabilities, such as visually impaired or blind people. Special service dogs are trained dogs that can do things that are out of the ordinary for dogs.
Emotional support animals can help owners with certain mental conditions. Dogs with this breed can make the owner feel better just by accompanying the owner and making the owner comfortable. The dog breeds assessed to be helpful for the recovery of PTSD survivors are the golden retriever, labrador retriever, Lhasa Apso, Doberman pinscher, standard poodle, boxer, and cavalier King Charles spaniel.