10 Benefits of Having a Service or Therapy Dog When You Have a Lung Disease

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 chronic illnesses including lung diseases.

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.

Wheelchair Assistance
Service dogs can be trained to pull wheelchairs and to help wheelchairs up ramps and onto sidewalks. They can also help their owner move in and out of the wheelchair.

Anxiety Relief
Having a chronic illness 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 lung disease 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.

MORE: Eight tips for protecting your lungs from unhealthy air

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.

Improved Balance
Walking with a service dog can help people with chronic diseases who have trouble with their balance. The dogs can also help prop their owners in place to prevent falls.

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.

MORE: The symptoms of CF vary from patient to patient, but there are similarities in the way it affects people

Exercise
Service dogs, like all dogs, need exercise, so having a service dog encourages owners to get some exercise each day, which is an important part of pulmonary rehabilitation.

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 people with chronic lung diseases conserve energy.

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Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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