Much like the phrase “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, could the phrase “Affection from a dog a day keeps the doctor away” hold any truth to it?
A new study has shown patients may benefit medicinally from the warm affection of a dog.
According to CNN, for patients suffering from pain in the emergency room, just 10 minutes with a four-legged friend may help reduce pain, says a study published Wednesday.
The study, which was published in the journal PLOS One, asked more than 200 patients in the emergency room to report their level of pain on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 10 as the highest level of pain).
A control group had no intervention for their pain, while participants in the other group were given 10 minutes of time with a therapy dog, and patients rated their pain levels again.
Those who got the visit from the dogs reported less pain and had significant changes in anxiety, depression, and well-being that were observed, according to the study.
According to CNN, the results reflect what dog owners everywhere have suspected for ages – canine affection cures all ills – as well as provides a bit of optimism for patients and health care providers frequently grappling with strapped hospital resources in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the lead author of the study Colleen Dell, the research chair in One Health and Wellness and professor at the University of Saskatchewan, she hopes that research much like this study proves how valuable therapy dogs can be.
“There is research showing that pets are an important part of our health in different ways. They motivate us, they get us up, (give us) routines, the human-animal bond,” Dell said to CNN.
Also agreeing with this concept was Jessica Chubak, a senior investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, who wasn’t involved with the study, noted we still have a long way to go in terms of learning about therapy dogs.
“The results of the study are promising. Our current understanding of the effects of therapy dog visits in emergency department settings is fairly limited. So, it is particularly important to have more research in this area,” she said in an email to CNN.
Asking yourself about the risks of catching diseases from dogs in a hospital setting? Dell also told CNN that there are ways for healthcare workers to sanitize the dogs before they enter a hospital.
Simply put, now we can stop asking ourselves whether therapy dogs are actually helpful but instead devise methods to maximize the services of dogs in hospitals and healthcare centers.
According to India Times, the study’s authors also claim being around a dog when you’re in a lot of physical pain can not only help lessen the severity of the pain but also provide optimism for both patients and healthcare workers alike. This may be especially beneficial considering the COVID-19 pandemic when healthcare workers have been performing over time in life-threatening conditions.
So the next time you’re in pain or even stressed out, think about the warm affection from your four-legged friend and don’t hesitate to pet them.
Read more via CNN.