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

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.

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 chronic 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: Seven things people with MS want you to know about the disease. 

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: Find out more about the four types of multiple sclerosis. 

Exercise
Service dogs, like all dogs, need exercise, so having a service dog encourages owners to get some exercise each day.

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.

MORE: MS patients may show signs of the disease five years before onset.

Multiple Sclerosis 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 another 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.

7 comments

  1. Lorraine Apana says:

    Can you assist me with training? Have a 4 month old German Shepherd. Very sweet boy but do not know who to contact. Please assist I Have MS since 1995. Walk with Walker and cane. Thank You. Lorraine Apana

  2. Janice Golding says:

    my MS was showing 4 years b4 I had a real problem but driving a Truck requires your full attention and is High Stress. I Started out with one eye going black as I say ( nothing could be seen out of it at all ) and once the meds made it better the other eye did the same thing ( with in 2 weeks ) then nothing for 4 years then DX in 2013 of MS and my MS doctor didn’t put it together but I have and its been a long hard fight so far and more to come

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