With their plucky attitude, endless loyalty, and joyful energy, it’s no wonder dogs are a favorite pet throughout the world. It’s hard to hang out with a puppy and not have a smile on your face. Not only are dogs fun and lovable, but they’re also incredibly smart and intuitive. Dogs are hard workers—with their keen sense of smell and talent for hunting and retrieving, they are suited for many different jobs.
One of these is within hospitals. You may be familiar with the idea of dogs being used as emotional support animals. This is an important job to help many chronically or even terminally ill patients cope with their diagnosis. One such condition is cancer. There are many ways dogs can help cancer patients through all steps of their treatment. Man’s best friend, after all, sticks with us through thick and thin.
Help with Detection
Many people focus on the emotional support dogs provide during treatment, but did you know that canines can help detect cancer? With their keen sense of smell, dogs can often detect inconsistencies in their owner’s breath, urine, or other bodily secretions. While trained dogs can detect multiple types of illness, even untrained dogs can notice abnormalities that reveal melanoma or lung cancer. Moral of the story: if your dog is licking at or acknowledging something about your body that may seem weird to you, maybe it’s time to get that checked out.
Getting a cancer diagnosis is never welcome news. Depending on your level of cancer treatment, it can be a stressful and draining time. Whether you are permanently in the hospital or come in for chemotherapy biweekly, the effects of cancer and the treatments will affect your life. It’s easy to feel disheartened and stressed. This is where trained therapy dogs can be incredibly helpful in combating feelings of hopelessness and depression.
Therapy dogs can be any size, shape, and breed. Their purpose is to cheer up guests through play and pets. It’s been proven that hanging out with a dog for even 15-20 minutes can help lower your blood pressure and stress levels. They can also generally improve your mood and release endorphins to relax the pain. These dogs keep you company during your treatments and turn a stressful, lonely experience into a more pleasant one.
Cancer care revolves around making patients as comfortable and motivated as possible while they fight off the disease. So all over the country, from a cancer treatment center in Marmora, NJ to hospitals in LA, therapy dogs are helping patients find joy and laughter despite their diagnosis.
Help with Recovery
Dogs have a purpose outside of the hospital and cancer center as well. They can greatly aid in your recovery during and after treatments. Even simple exercise can help your heart health and release stress. Taking your dog on one to two daily walks improves your general health and mood. Make it a fun outing. Check out dog harness stores and get a high-quality, fun harness for your pup.
From large dog harnesses to nylon designs to leather leads, there are so many ways to personalize your dog walking items to fit your little family. Dress yourself and your feline friend up for your afternoon walk around the block. Finding those small moments of joy with your pup and their wardrobe continues on the theme of improving mood and releasing stress. Plus, the more you exercise, the stronger your body will be for fighting cancer.
Perhaps you need extra assistance beyond just daily walks. This may be a job for a service dog. While you may be used to seeing service dogs working with blind individuals or those with special needs, those recovering from cancer can also utilize this assistance. Service dogs are trained to help bark for help, open doors, and assist with walking. These dogs can be a calming, reassuring presence for you as you recover from cancer treatment.