8 Benefits of Having a Service or Therapy Dog When You Have Cancer

8 Benefits of Having a Service or Therapy Dog When You Have Cancer
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Service dogs are typically thought of as necessary companions for the visually impaired, but service and therapy dogs can be a practical solution for people with a variety of illnesses, including cancer.

As well as being a trusted friend, service dogs can expand owners’ motor abilities, granting them new independence and allowing them to get more out of life. Here are just a few benefits of having a service dog, according to healthfitnessrevolution.com, mira.ca, the Lung Institute, and rover.com.

Anxiety Relief
Having cancer can bring about many emotional and mental health problems. The calming nature of service and therapy dogs can help ease anxiety and petting dogs is known to release endorphins and reduce stress.

Retrieve Items
Service dogs can help cancer patients by picking up dropped items and fetching items from other rooms, a vital service for someone who may find getting around difficult and painful.

Lowers Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
There is evidence that stroking a dog and sitting next to a dog lowers blood pressure and heart rate. The soothing effects of their body heat may also help with pain relief.

MORE: Dispelling the most common cancer prevention myths.

Good Distraction
Looking after a service dog gives people something to focus on other than their illness. It can help patients develop positive routines and force them to get up and go out.

Exercise
Service dogs, like all dogs, need exercise, so having a service dog encourages owners to get some exercise each day.

MORE: 10 common emotional responses to a cancer diagnosis.

Attract Attention
If you need help but are unable to draw attention yourself, your service dog will be able to bark loudly to attract attention from passersby or neighbors.

Promote Communication
Dogs have been known to help promote communication and often prompt conversation from strangers when out and about.

Help Around the House
Therapy dogs are able to help people around the house with simple tasks such as answering the doorbell, retrieving medication, opening and closing doors, and switching lights on and off, helping cancer patients to conserve energy.

MORE: These yoga poses may help with the effects of prostate cancer treatment.

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