Pets & Animals

Do Therapy Dog Actually Help?

How much do therapy dogs really help?  There is a lot of debate around this issue.  Studies have shown that therapy dogs help with improving a patient’s mental health.  Being in the presence of a dog and caring for it can help reduce stress and make someone feel better.

These dogs are professionally trained and certified to help people.  They can not only provide comfort, but they can also do tasks like getting medicine, getting help or getting their phone.

Lets look into therapy dogs further.

Conditions Treated With Therapy Dogs

In order to get a therapy dog covered by insurance, it has to be prescribed by a doctor.  Your doctor has to diagnose you with one of the following conditions in order to qualify:

  • Anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Fear/Phobia
  • Mood disorder
  • Panic attack
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Therapy Dog Breeds

Virtually any dog can be used as a therapy dog; however, there are some breeds that are better because of their intelligence and their temperament.  The top 5 therapy dogs are:

  1. Labrador Retriever – Labrador Retriever’s are the most popular breed of therapy dog because they are good with new people, obedient, gentle and intelligent.
  2. German Shepherd  – The second most popular choice for therapy dog is the German Shepherd.  They are known for being gentle, smart, loyal and they can sense human feelings.
  3. Greyhound – The Greyhound comes in third place.  They are known for being affectionate and loyal.  They are also good at sensing things.
  4. Beagle – Beagles are small dogs with big hearts.  They are very friendly, can get along with other animals and are good with new people. They love keeping people happy.
  5. Standard Poodle – The poodle is considered the most intelligent dog breed.  They are affectionate, enjoy human contact and like to keep their owners happy.

Does A Therapy Dog Really Help?

This is a valid question. Do therapy dogs really help or is it just a big industry that we are feeding into.  There is no real scientific proof showing that therapy dogs work; however, a therapy dog helps an individual emotionally and gives them a sense of purpose.


Many times therapy dogs helps individuals who suffer from depression. Individuals who suffer from depression often believe that no one cares for them.  Having a dog helps them have purpose and a reason to get up in the morning.


Dogs are a lot of work.  They need to be fed, walked, bathed and much more. Having this responsibility helps people who are depressed or anxious.  Many times if a person does not feel like they have a reason to get out of bed, a dog helps get them going because of the responsibility.

Improves Health

Having a dog can help the mind feel better.  They can also help someone feel physically better. Studies have shown that having a dog can decrease blood pressure, reduce stress, boost endorphins and lower your heart rate.

Social Interactions

Having a dog means that you will be outdoors a lot! Dogs love going on walks and they love going to the dog park.  Because of this, a person will have to have more social interaction with other people.

Types of Therapy Dogs

There are three types of therapy dogs that are defined by laws.

  • Psychiatric service dog – These dogs receive extensive training and provide help to people who have serious mental issues that impair their daily lives.
  • Emotional support dog – These dogs provide friendship and motivation to people who have depression, anxiety or other mental issues.
  • Therapy dog – These dogs are trained to provide affection and comfort.

Therapy dogs do help.  They provide their owners with a sense or responsibility, comfort, and purpose.  They are well trained to assist individuals in need by providing comfort, a sense of need and during health attacks.


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