Dogs can also be doctors’ best friends. At least so says new research published this week, which reveals that contact with these pets can help people who are sick.
A study conducted by One Health and Wellness showed that patients who experience pain in the emergency room can reduce discomfort (or feel less pain) if they spend at least ten minutes in the company of a dog.
“There is research showing that pets are an important part of our health in different ways. They motivate us, they lift our spirits, they create routines, the human-animal bond,” explained Colleen Dell, lead author of the study and a researcher at One Health and Wellness and the University of Saskatchewan, in Canada.
The results of this research were published in PLOS One. In the tests, more than 200 emergency room patients were asked to indicate their level of pain on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing the highest level.
A control group received no care to relieve discomfort, while participants in the other group spent 10 minutes with a therapy dog. After this, the patients re-rated their pain levels. At this stage, people who had contact with the dogs reported feeling less pain.
Participants also reported that feelings of anxiety were reduced by up to 48 percent. This shows the importance of animals, especially therapy dogs, for patients who remain hospitalized in emergencies.
“Clinically significant changes in pain, as well as significant changes in anxiety, depression, and well-being were observed in the therapy dog intervention compared to control,” added Dr. Dell.