Health benefits and Dogs

guide-dogsEvery year around finals, Penn State brings dogs onto campus to help relax the students in stressful times. You not only see this growing trend on campus, but you also see more therapy animals in public. Now a days its common to have all kinds of illness being treated with animal therapy. Everything from PTSD to Seizures can now be treated or helped by your furry friend!

PTSD is a condition known as Post Traumatic Stress disorder that leaves you feeling alone, scared or losing control of yourself. It can be caused by numerous factors but one thing is for certain, dogs and other pets can help combat the painful symptoms one might have from PTSD.

Studies show that people who own pets report having lower stress levels on the whole. Not only did the study show longitudinal examples of lowered stress level with the individuals, but it also had no age range cap. Children to older adults with Alzheimer’s were taken into account in the study which made it more credible having such a large variety and population. Not only did the study give an array of illnesses that were impacted by owning a therapy pet, but there was also links to other studies that showed higher survival rates of particular illness that were more life threatening.


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Some confounding variable might play a role in the researchers results such as, likelihood that particular stressors are no longer in your life, or another variable could be the degree to which your illness effected you. You could get different results based on if you asked a child about reporting better health as opposed to someone who has had a stroke.  The study does suggest that it has looked at meta-analysis since it brings up other studies, but it doesn’t go into detail as to the study repeating another study.


Doggy Love!

So why is this so important to students? The answer, Oxytocin! Oxytocin is a chemical produced in the brain that can controls how the body heals itself! So the correlation between animals and our stress levels can be lowered if we play with our pups more! So pet therapy is not only a great way to heal people who have experienced trauma but it is also a great way for people who just need a little break from exams to relax and unwind! So next time you are stressed out, why not have some snuggle time with man’s best friend?!