Service Dogs for Mental Health

In December 11, 2018

Service Dogs for Mental Health

Dogs are great companions but for those with mental health issues, they can also provide a critical and life-saving service. Psychiatric disabilities can make it difficult for people to function in their daily routine and service dogs can assist with a variety of issues to ease symptoms and maintain safety. Service dogs are available for many different mental health issues but they can be especially helpful for veterans suffering from PTSD.

Service dogs can provide help with critical issues such as alerting others when their owner is having a seizure, panic attack or other serious psychiatric issues. Dogs can be trained to recognize symptoms of an attack and alert others or paw at the leg of their owner to interrupt destructive behavior. Dogs can also provide therapeutic assistance for anxiety through deep pressure therapy with their body weight while sitting on their handler’s lap or abdomen.

Many mental health patients have specific issues that they need help with such as certain fears that they need to work on. Their service dog can be trained to help them with these issues such as providing boundary control for people with claustrophobia or alerting them of the presence of someone else around a corner so that they can feel more aware and comfortable in their surroundings. People with anxiety can also benefit from a service dog that can signal a need for them to leave the room in case they are experiencing anxiety.

In addition to specific trained behaviors for mental health symptoms, service dogs also provide emotional support for people that are struggling with certain disabilities. A dog’s presence can help the individual feel more comfortable and safe from any possible dangers related to their disorder. Those in need of a service dog can apply for one through a local company that provides assistance for those with disabilities.

By Dr. Reuben Vaisman-Tzachor

Seasons Malibu