Posts Tagged ‘dogs calming effect’

Using Dogs to Stop Panic Attacks

It’s happening again. Your heart is going a mile-a-minute, you’re sweating and shaking, you’re short of breath, and you’re in a state of absolute panic. But your dog notices what’s going on, comes into the room, jumps onto your lap, and before you know it, everything is fine. But why is this? What is it about dogs that helps to stop panic attacks? Here we explore how dogs can help to soothe sufferers of panic attacks, and more specifically, how to stop panic attacks using dogs.

Obviously, dogs can’t speak or truly understand what you’re saying, nor do they know what anxiety is or what panic attacks are, but somehow they have the ability to calm us down in moments of need. Dogs can do wonders for people who suffer from various anxiety related conditions, and here’s how they can be used to help stop panic attacks.

Dogs love to cuddle

It’s been clinically proven that positive physical touch can calm people down by reducing their heart rate, but this sort of physical affection isn’t always available, especially as the symptoms of panic attacks tend to occur at the most unlikely of times. As dogs are always down for cuddle time, they make the perfect solution for people craving the warm touch they can provide. Simply having a dog sit on your lap or lean against you can significantly reduce the symptoms of a panic attack and help to calm you down.

A dog will listen without trying to ‘fix’ you

Quite often, when discussing anxiety-related issues with people, they will usually listen but also try to offer advice, which is sometimes the last thing you want when pouring your heart out. Having a dog nearby to speak to can often alleviate the symptoms of a panic attack, as you can say absolutely anything you want without the fear of being judged, and knowing your dog won’t try to offer advice – because it can’t. Simply knowing you have an impartial listener can really help towards stopping panic attacks from happening.

Dogs are a great distraction

When left to our own devices, we can let our mind wonder and think about situations we wouldn’t normally think of, and this can be much worse for people with anxiety issues and suffer from panic attacks. As dogs are always available to play, take for walks, or just to snuggle with, they make for an excellent distraction from any wondering thoughts we might have. How can we think about worst case scenarios when playing fetch with an enthusiastic dog? It’s well known that dogs require a lot of care and affection, so when your focus is on looking after a dog, there will be less time to focus on any negative thoughts.

Having a dog around can help loneliness

Being alone at home for long periods of time can increase the chance of developing anxiety related disorders such as panic attacks. A flicker of light or the slightest noise can put you on edge, and the worry of being alone can induce a panic attack. By having a dog with you, you’ll definitely never be alone – there will always be someone you can share your latest news with, someone to play with and someone to cuddle up to.

Playing with your dog is a fantastic way to clear your mind

With all the stresses of daily life, it’s a wonder more people don’t suffer from anxiety related issues. Thinking about worrisome situations can only lead to more negative trains of thought, but it’s hard to worry about life when taking your dog for a walk, or see them being silly. In fact, playing with a dog has the ability to massively relieve stress and decrease the chances of having a panic attack. By simply focusing on your dog can really help to clear your mind and enable you to come up with solutions to any problems you may have, real or imagined.

Whether you’re a sufferer of panic attacks, have anxiety issues or simply want a loving companion, a dog can help anyone seeking to improve their life. A dog can be a shoulder to lean on in times of need, a non-judgemental listener, a great distraction from life’s stresses, a great companion to ward off loneliness, and can help to clear your mind. Why not think about getting a dog to help stop panic attacks?

For more information on service dog requirements click here.

For more information on how to obtain an emotional support animal letter from a doctor click here.

A person suffering from anxiety attacks experience many risks, and it’s one of the reasons why it’s prudent to consider having a service dog or emotional support animal as a companion. The animal can keep the environment safer for the individual and below are some of the ways a dogs can calm anxiety:

1) Dogs can predict panic attacks

Because of their acute senses, dogs can recognize that a person is about to experience a panic or anxiety attack. If a service dog is well-trained, it can intervene in the situation before any untoward incident happens. The pet will nudge or bark at his handler or owner even before the attacks happen, and they will not stop unless the handler listens.

2) Dogs have a calming and relaxing presence.

Even the ones that aren’t trained to be service dogs draw the same calming effect. A study has determined that a dog’s presence has some sort of healing effect. A person’s heart rate and blood pressure lowers whenever they are around dogs to either touch or keep the company.

Another study revealed that dogs can unleash happy hormones in a person, thus reducing stress levels that could trigger anxiety.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

 

3) Dogs ground you during an anxiety attack.

A person experiencing bouts of anxiety attacks could temporary lose focus as panic sets in, but a service dog will keep him grounded, so that he can get a grip of his situation. Some service dogs are trained to facilitate deep pressure therapy, where the dogs can settle their body on the person’s chest to help him calm him down. Certain panic attacks can put the person at risk of hurting himself or damaging property, when this can be avoided or reduced with the dog’s presence.

4) Dogs alert your loved-one or other humans.

If a person is having an attack, a well-trained service dog can let another human know so that the matter can immediately be given attention. They can look for that person for help, or they can also be relied upon to find their master’s phone so that he can call for help.