Positive Effects Of Animal Therapy On College Stress 

“Some stress on a person is a normal part of everyday life. This ‘good stress’ called ‘eustress’ can help propel you forward and motivate you to achieve goals.” Aarti Gupta, PsyD, a clinical director says. Stress comes in different forms. Whether it be a self-induced one or provided by people around us, we tend to feel anxious about things which are out of our control and our comfort zones. Stress is a natural reaction of our bodies to demands or threats.  

 

 

Why Having A Pet Is Good For Your Family

Adopting a pet can bring an incredible change for your family. Whether you’re planning to adopt a dog, cat, fish, bird, or other animals, it has an overall positive impact.

And it’s not only for the humans in the family but for your adopted pet as well. Animals can keep you company through life’s ups and downs, and they will never get tired of being with you. With that, there are many ways why having a pet is excellent for your family.

Here are some benefits of keeping a family pet:

Pets Can Ease Stress And Improve Your Mood

Taking care of pets and merely being around them can give you a sense of relief from stress. Animals can do unexpected fun things that can bring a good laugh.

Moreover, sharing your space with a pet can highly improve the family’s overall mood. By taking care of a pet, you’re also making valuable memories to keep for your family.

Spending time with pets have also been shown to boost feelings of pleasure. Thus, they can offer comfort and companionship that is different from human relationships. 

Pets Can Boost Child Learning

If you have young kids, having a pet to take care of at an early age can boost their learning.

Since pets are good listeners, a child may feel more comfortable practicing sharing stories with them than another person. Knowing the breeds of pets can also allow them to enhance their learning when it comes to animals.

Taking Care Of Pets Can Teach Children About Responsibility

They develop a sense of responsibility by doing small but crucial tasks. It can be by replenishing the dog’s water bowl, cleaning the fishbowl, giving treats to the cat, and more. Hence, it also results in children getting more involved with household chores.

Furthermore, by learning and understanding the needs of a family pet, they get to practice being a good pet owner.

Pets Can Improve Your Physical Health

Training and playing with your pets can be a great physical activity. House dogs, in particular, can help with that because of their nature. You can enjoy your daily walks and playtime with your furry friend and get active together as well.

Training them and teaching them simple tricks can also be an excellent way to sweat. You’re not only improving the dog’s skills, but you can keep your family in shape as well.

Pets Are A Constant Companion

Whether at work or at home, pets are constant companions that you can rely on during difficult days. They can give you unconditional love and comfort when you feel like the world has turned its back on you.

Pets can help you or a family member process difficult emotions and bounce back from a setback.

Owning Pets Can Boost Children’s Self-Esteem

Taking care of a pet can boost children’s self-esteem and accountability. They can take pride in taking care of a smaller being even at a young age. It is in a tie with pets teaching children about responsibility.

Since dogs, for example, are naturally loving towards humans, children feel more free being themselves around them. Even when they’re alone, having a pet to play and interact with is a fantastic support system for young children.

Having A Pet Fosters Social Interactions

Aside from being good friends themselves, pets can also allow you to improve your social interactions. Pets help humans enhance their social skills by boosting owners’ self-confidence and self-esteem. 

It can start from only going around the neighborhood and striking up a conversation with neighbors who are also pet owners. By posting pictures of your pet online, you can garner reactions that can turn into meaningful interactions.

For young children, on the other hand, playing with an animal can bridge the connection between playmates. It is because children can gather up more courage to interact with another child with an animal.

Caring For A Family Pet

The majority of animals that you can keep as pets live a 15 to 20 years lifespan. Thus, you can expect that it is a long-term commitment. While having a pet is fun and beneficial, you also have to prepare for their long-term care. Here are some factors to note of before adopting a pet:

 

  • Allergies

 

First and foremost, know if specific allergies run in your family. You can talk with your doctor on how to address this. For some, they expose young children to pets early on to see if they’re child has allergies. 

 

  • Work Load

 

Assess how much you can commit to devoting your time and attention to raising and taking care of a pet. Since older family members can be busy, children help take care of family pets. It’s also great to assign tasks to each family member to know which will do each chore.

 

  • Lifestyle And Advantages

 

Think of your lifestyle and what benefits you want to gain from owning a pet. Some people lean on low-maintenance pets, while some seek comfort and active interactions with pets.

 

  • Household Age

 

Consider the age range of each family member. Some child and elderly members of the family can not match well with fragile or hyperactive pets.

 

  • Adopt Or Shop

 

Plan where and how you will get your family pet. The best path is to adopt pets from a shelter and screen the shelter for any behavioral issues. You can also buy small pets from pet stores such as hamsters, rabbits, fish, turtles, etc. 

Things To Consider When Owning A Pet

While you may own a pet for only a limited number of years, it’s a different story for them. Pets will devote their whole life being with your family. You have to have compassion,  commitment, and dedication in taking care of a pet.

Hence, if you choose to adopt a pet, make sure to be a responsible pet owner.

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How To Bond With Your Dog During Quarantine

One of the many things I have been feeling thankful for since the quarantine order came is that I was at home when it happened. My work requires me to visit different parts of the globe, you see. I usually get a house sitter who can take care of my dogs while I am away or bring them straight to the animal shelter. But now that I do not have pending projects to deal with, I get to bond with my pets again.

Here are a few bonding tips that you should try during the quarantine.

Try Grooming Your Pet On Your Own

Various news outlets recently published articles about Chris Evans giving his dog a haircut while quarantining together. At first, I thought they wanted to tell the world that Captain America found a new talent. As it turned out, though, the dog ended up with a bald spot because the actor wasn’t used to grooming animals. There were no hard feelings between the two, so it’s all good.

Now, I am not sharing this to discourage you from trying to groom your pet by yourself. It should merely serve as a reminder to do things based on your level of expertise. Say, if you have a Shih Tzu, you can shampoo their fur in the beginning. In case you feel more confident, you may put their hair in a high ponytail. Nevertheless, you should only give your dog a trim when you are sure of your skills.

Let The Dog Tag Along Wherever You Go

Pets are no different from humans, in the sense that they are capable of missing their owner. That is especially true if the latter has always been busy at work and rarely finds time to spend with the dog. Hence, you may have caught them throwing a fit in the past by peeing on the floor, chewing on your shoes, etc.

Since you are locked down, though, you should let your dog tag along wherever you go. You may mostly be at home, but you can make them happy by not shooing them away when you go to a particular room.

Teach Some New Tricks

You and your pet can have a productive bonding experience when you teach them new tricks. Doing so should not be too challenging when you have already shown them a few in the past. If you need a refresher, you can look for tutorials on video-sharing platforms.

Teaching something new to your dog may be one of the best ways to pass the quarantine. Aside from taking you away from gadgets, it will take your mind off all the terrible things happening in the outside world.

Learn From The Dog

Similarly, you can spend your days understanding your dog’s body language. This tip is especially helpful for people who have gotten a new pet from the animal shelter while quarantined. You have never been around each other much, so you likely do not know what makes them tick. If you actively try to communicate with your pet, you will undoubtedly know when they feel hungry, angry, sad, or excited.

Final Thoughts

The quarantine order has been brutal for everyone who is used to staying out of the house for more than 12 hours. It may have been a welcome change at first, but it has become a nuisance after a week or two. Despite that, there isn’t much that we can do but follow the regulation if we want to live.

You are lucky for being able to quarantine with your beloved dogs. Don’t waste the opportunity to bond with them by staying glued to your gadgets. Good luck!

Top Animals That Therapists Use In Their Sessions

Most people think dogs are the only service animals used by therapists. However, more and more animals are now used alongside your canine friend. 

We know that pets pose various benefits. Trained or not, they are there to show their support and bring comfort to the lives of many people. They are there to provide companionship for owners while they take necessary actions for counseling and medical emergencies. Because of the increasing demand for animal-assisted therapy, therapists have opted to add other animals to the list. 

Dogs

Dogs are the most used and popular service animals today. They are known for their ability to comfort people, bring affection, and accompany people in need in confined living situations. They are also seen in various environments such as the grocery store, the mall, or even just down the street.

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Most individuals find the desire to pet a service dog when they see one. Do not worry; it’s pretty safe to do so. But in case you are hesitant to interact with them, you may opt to look for their “I am friendly! Ask my handler if you can pet me” patches. 

There are also three types of therapy dogs: 

  • Facility Therapy Dogs – These dogs are usually stationed in nursing homes to accompany patients with Alzheimer’s disease (or any other mental disability connected to getting confused or lost). 
  • Therapeutic Visitation Dogs – Therapeutic visitation dogs are household pets who veer away from the comforts of their homes to visit nursing homes, hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities. Then, they go back to their owners after doing so. 
  • Assisted Therapy Dogs – These special dogs are there to help individuals with their physical problems. Examples include regaining motor control, addressing the motion in the limbs, and improving hand-eye coordination. 

Cats

Believe it or not, there are still people who are intimidated or terrified by dogs. Because of that, these clients decide to hire service cats instead. Most therapists would say cats are one of the hardest animals to train; but when they get the hang of it, they are capable of accomplishing a wide range of tasks that not all animals can do. 

These friendly felines are most common in nursing homes. They are seen wandering around the corridors, coming in and out of the patients’ rooms, or on the laps of the elderlies who have dementia. 

Horses

Equine therapy is the most popular type of treatment for individuals experiencing disruptive thoughts and behaviors. Taking care of a large animal, such as a horse, requires your full attention. Hence, it helps you get out of your abnormal behaviors (abuse, anger, emotional, etc.). 

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Studies show that equine therapy is scientifically proven to help enhance a person’s social skills, lower blood pressure, aid in anger management problems, increase confidence, and ease impatience and anxiety. Although this practice takes a lot of effort, it will most likely be beneficial in the end. 

Small Pets

Therapists are now starting to train small pets like hamsters, little turtles, rabbits, and guinea pigs to serve as emotional support animals (ESA). Just like dogs, they offer companionship, calmness, and comfort to the patients. These small animals also provide emotional support and aid in the improvement of motor skills. 

Most patients opt to take care of these smaller pets since they are easier to maintain than their canine co-workers. 

Birds

Birds, especially parrots, make great candidates for assistive therapy. For example, parrots are known to be engaging and interactive with their owners; hence, they often keep their minds occupied. They are also proven to show high levels of empathy. 

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Some therapists also assign abused or injured birds to their patients, so they have something to take care of. Studies say that the birds’ situations contribute to the ease of symptoms of those individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Reptiles

Reptiles are new to therapy animal occupation. London was the first country to use them to help those people struggling with substance abuse, depression, and eating disorders. What makes this approach unique is the patients always feel a sense of fulfillment and surge of confidence, since caring for reptiles is uncommon. They think that they can finally succeed in this world; hence, boosting their image about themselves. 

Trained service animals conduct special programs to address a variety of physical and mental conditions. Animals are the better choice since they quickly respond to love and affection through consistent training and exposure to people. At the same time, patients are more comfortable to be themselves around these animals instead of pouring their attention to other humans.

Looking After Your Emotional Support Dog

When online therapy does not suffice to help you detach yourself from negativities, some counselors may recommend getting emotional dog support. This animal has ideally been trained to assist anyone with a physical or mental disorder and serve as their crutch, especially when they feel down. It can be a dog that’s borrowed from an organization, but your pet can go through training to become a certified emotional support animal (ESA) as well.

Top 3 Accessories For Your Emotional Support Dog

The purpose of having an emotional support dog is for you or your loved one to always have a companion through the easiest and toughest times. Therefore, whether you go to the beach or travel outside the country, it should remain by your side.

And even though their company is what most people want from them, it will not be against the law if you’re going to accessorize it a bit. Here are a few items you can shop for your emotional support dog:

Vests

The first thing you need is a vest. It should fit well around the animal’s body, for one. The fabrics should be breathable so that your dog will not be irritated when you put the vest on it. They should be easily worn as well so that it won’t take forever before you can leave the house. It will be nice to find a vest that has a ready-made ESA dog patch that can make more individuals aware of emotional support dogs. The colors used need to be reflective as well so that the car drivers on the streets will see them easily.

Leashes

Dog leashes are not necessary for trained emotional support dogs. However, it will let their owners maintain a connection to them even when they are outdoors. Most straps come in different colors, but it is typical to have them printed with the words “emotional support dog” and a single paw on both sides. They are thick as well; that’s why you do not have to worry about losing your hold on it.

Patches

You have the right to make your emotional support dog wear anything you like. Any of these clothes will be more suited to a dog patch. The materials for the patches available in some stores are rubber, metal, plastic, and fabric. All of them can easily be placed on your dog’s vest without any issue.

How To Prepare Your ESA Or Pets For Disasters

Now, people have mixed views about pet owners who dress up and care for their animals like real children. Some are merely amazed in a good way, while others cannot appreciate the significance of even bothering to spend a lot on dog fashion. However, everyone will agree that during disasters or emergencies, humans are deprived of time or ability to personally secure the needs of the animal when there are loved ones who require more attention. With this in mind, here’s how to prepare bug-out bags for your pets.

1. Purchase An Adequate Bag

Dogs, in general, are more comfortable in carrying around a saddle-like bag. Its zippered containers will fall on either side of its body, so the weight of the items will be balanced throughout. To protect the pet’s belongings, even more, you can opt to have a tight saddle pack that has many closure straps.

2. Consider The Size Of The Animal

Humans and dogs are similar, in the sense that both have a limited amount of things they can lift. If the pet is a Chihuahua or a beagle, it may be too taxing for it to carry water and snacks on their back. But if your family owns a golden retriever, a Labrador, or any dog from a larger breed, it can bring its foodstuff for sure.

3. Think Of The Emergency’s Duration

The weather and how long you foresee the calamity will go on determine what you have to put in your animal’s saddle pack. For instance, in case the weather is hot, more bottles of water should be in the bug out bag to save it from dehydration. Besides, if the dog is pregnant or has a huge built, extra food may be necessary.

Final Thoughts

Having an emotional support animal by your side is better than any drug that a doctor can offer to help you get rid of your mental health issues. Because of that, you should take care of the dog that you have so that you can be together for as long as necessary.

Good luck!…

Dog Therapy Enhances Good Mental Health For Adults

Just like teenagers, adults aging from 30 to 60 years old, also experience mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Mental health problems in adults may not be as prevalent like that of the teenager’s, but we should still not neglect it.

According to Marla W. Deibler, PsyD, “When we think a stressor is too great for us to manage, we feel overwhelmed,” Job unemployment, company issues, and family problems are among the life stressors that can affect an adult’s mental well-being. These stressors may lead to loneliness, loss of dignity and emotional distress which can later induce bad mental health condition like dementia and depression. So, finding ways to look after your overall health can help you feel better and avoid the triggers of disorders.

Aside from having an active lifestyle, undergoing dog therapy is one of the many ways to help you towards having good mental health along with eating right and getting enough rest.

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What Is Dog Therapy?

Dog therapy is a type of alternative healing program not just for teenagers but also for adults experiencing mental health problems. It aims to provide pet involvement as a form of treatment administered by several health professionals. Dog therapy is the most convenient because therapy dogs are man’s best friend.

A dog has great potential in increasing social connection because they are less threatening compared to other medical treatments.  Hence, interacting with a friendly dog enhances adult’s social and emotional performance. Experts believe that they can lower stress level and can provide peace of mind to adult patients. For example, by simply stroking its fur would give you a feeling of easiness and calmness. Walking with your dog in the park would also relieve your worries. In essence, it protects adults from harnessing loneliness in life and fear of several things like death. Andrea Bonior, PhD, clinical psychologist explains that “Whether you suffer from seasonal affective disorder or not, the evidence is strong that getting outside just for a little bit can be very helpful.”

Dog therapy is also associated with other types of animal therapy like cats, horses, smallies, and birds to facilitate emotional well-being.

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The Power Of Dog Therapy

The relationship between animals and humans are as powerful as our relationship with our friends or family. If you feel like no one is with you, therapy dogs will never leave you alone. Engaging with therapeutic dogs may provide adults the support and comfort they needed as they walk through the journey of life.

Dogs offer companionship during the times of success and downfalls. They can be a huge source of motivation and encouragement to adults experiencing anxieties. They will teach you how to empathize and bring back the interpersonal skills you have lost because of your problems.

Besides that, if you feel like you don’t have a purpose in life; your dog would give you one by taking care of him. Dogs can be someone whom you can share a routine with. Dogs will give you the taste of fulfillment and build friendship you always hope for during your lonely years.

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So, for adults who feel that they are at the edge of having bad mental health, seek help and own a therapeutic dog. If you are not confident about getting a medically prescribe remedies, they will help you directly in a good mental health environment. Dogs will give you the energy to deal with your stressors and overcome your anxieties.”Happy people do things differently. They make their emotional wellbeing a priority and practice daily and weekly habits that help them create joy, happiness and satisfaction in their lives,” says Dr. Chantal Gagnon Ph.D. LMHC.

What Can You Gain From Animal-Assisted Therapy?

Bryan has been going to therapy sessions after he lost both of his parents from a horrific car accident. He reported to his therapist that there have been no changes since he started going for psychological intervention for his depression. His therapist patiently explained that time is not the essence of the healing process. Some people recover faster some don’t. The important thing is that if they do recover from the trauma, the goals of reconciliation, finding peace, and moving on to the next chapter of their lives are established.…

The Benefits of Animal Therapy

 

The therapy that uses animals in enhancing the physical, emotional, and social-being of any individual is called Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). Through this program, it helps individuals to strengthen their confidence, discover any anxiety symptoms, and improve their healing processes. Therapy sessions naturally consist of the therapist and the pet with its handler and the patient.…