Animal-Assisted Therapy: How Dogs Cure


There are few people who do not like pets. But it turns out that in addition to their primary functions, animals can bring benefit to human health! Today we will talk about dogs, perhaps the most faithful four-legged friends and about the science of dog-assisted treatment, or canistherapy.

The science of dog-assisted therapy has officially emerged recently, although even the ancients knew that this animal was striking in its fidelity and the ability to raise one’s mood. It will not let you get bored, even if you have been cut off from the people for a long time. Today canistherapy is successfully developing, as confirmed by the emergence of special clinics, where patients are treated with the help of dogs under the supervision of physicians!

Who finds canistherapy useful?

Even perfectly healthy, adult and self-sufficient people will have their mood uplifted after communication with a four-legged friend. And the benefit that can be provided by this living “remedy” to those who suffer from various ailments is far greater! Thus, dog-assisted treatment will be suitable if you:

  • are depressed, you have fits of anxiety or panic;
  • suffer from diseases of the heart, stomach, spine, lungs or rheumatism;
  • have recently recovered from an illness or mental distress;
  • have a disability;
  • are lonely.

In addition, communication with the dog has a very positive effect on the hyper-excited children, and people with Down’s syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease or autism.

How to hold a session of canistherapy?

To complete a course of dog-assisted treatment, one should not necessarily go to a special center or look for a specific breed of dogs. It is enough to have a pet at home, or – if you do not have one – enjoy socializing with the neighbor’s four-legged friend. Canistherapy can be realized through:

  • playing with the animal;
  • walks;
  • taking care of the dog, combing, feeding, etc.;
  • stroking;
  • observing frolicking dogs;
  • applying the dog to the affected area (e.g., in case of rheumatism).

These simple steps relax muscles, improve the digestive system, reduce tension, and also affect a person’s mood tremendously.

However, to properly conduct the session of dog-assisted therapy, it is worth adopting some rules.

Firstly, never force the dog to take part in the session. If the pet does not want to lie next to you or tends to lie down and sleep on the rug in the hallway – let it do this. Otherwise, the session is unlikely to be useful: the dog can get angry, and you will be annoyed.

Secondly, do not aspire to create a kind of session scheme, for example: “First we will take a walk, then we will play, then I will comb the dog …” etc. The pet may not precisely like this way of spending time. Let it go its own way. Relax, talk to the dog with a calm, even voice, do not make any sudden movements and enjoy the process. And if the dog comes to you and wants to lick your hand, fawns at your feet or induces you to stroke it, then do it – dogs intuitively understand that it can help the owner at the moment.

Thirdly, pay attention to how the dog lies next to you. If you notice that your pet will have new habits (for example, every time, when sitting near you, it is trying to nestle in the same place), then it is likely that there is a problem with the nearby organs. The fact is that the dog recognizes the disease in its earliest stage – sometimes even before the appearance of sickness or other symptoms. Therefore it is worth paying more attention to the “opinion” of these four-legged experts!