The healing effects of dogs have been spoken of for centuries. Does a dog's saliva have healing agents? Do therapy dogs take away the pain of patients? Can a dog help someone live longer? Many people believe that all of these are true.
Dogs and Wounds
Licking wounds is a natural instinct for animals. It’s what they do in the wild, so that’s usually what a dog’s first reaction is when a person is hurt. In the wild animals will lick each others wounds to try and heal them. But, does this do anything?
The mechanical action of a dog’s tongues can be helpful in dealing with a wound. Saliva of a dog’s tongue can act to loosen any debris that may be on the surface of the wound, according to Stanely Coren, a professor of psychology, at the University of British Columbia. So, at the very least a dog’s saliva can cleanse the area of the wound.
Dogs and Therapy
The number of therapy dogs is constantly growing, because people and doctors are starting to notice their effect. According to Jack Baron, director of UCLA’s People Animal Connection (PAC) it is very common for people to wake up, start eating, finally take their medications and if paralyzed suddenly move a finger to wave at a dog.
- Baron says one look at a therapy dog strolling into a hospital room and a patient’s blood pressure will drop and heart rate will slow.
- From a study at the University of Southern Maine researchers found that therapy dog visits calmed patients with severe dementia. Here's a pin about good dogs helping with dementia.
- A study at UCLA found that therapy dog visits had a significant effect on heart patients. The study found that visits from therapy dogs reduced pressure in the heart and lungs by ten percent, reduced stress hormones by 17 percent and lowered anxiety levels by 24 percent.
- A study at Massachusetts General Hospital found that therapy dogs reduced patient’s pain levels.
- Other studies have shown that the benefits last a full 45 minutes after the dog leaves.
“We’re not just crazy dog nuts. Real science proves the dogs make a difference,” Dawn Marcus, M.D. and author of, The Power of Wagging Tails said.
“They know when someone needs love. And that’s better than any medicine,” Coleen Moran, a nurse at UCLA Medical Center said.
Dogs are not only our best friends, but in some ways our medicine. They never give up on you and always want you better. They’ll sit all day in a hospital bed with you and look at you with eyes that say, ‘don’t give up’. They do the best they can to cure our pain, because they know that it just would mean plenty more years of loving you.
Does anyone have a therapy dog in their life?