Has a dog ever visited you in the hospital? Whether the pup was yours or you’d never seen it before, you still likely felt happy when you saw and got to pet it. Dogs allowed in hospitals benefit people in several ways. They can improve mental and physical well-being, which can be much needed in a medical setting.
Dogs provide comfort and hope to people, regardless of their job. Certain dogs have different roles in hospitals, and each one is smart enough to help out humans however possible. Between service dogs, therapy dogs and pets, you’ll be able to identify every type of canine companion when you next visit someone in the hospital. Here’s why allowing dogs in hospitals is good for everyone else.
Are Dogs Allowed in Hospitals?
Everyone wants their best furry friend when they’re not feeling well, but dogs aren’t always allowed in hospitals. If you see one, it’s likely a working dog that performs certain services. Service and therapy dogs can go wherever they’re needed to help humans.
Therapy dogs are a little different from service dogs, which you may see in more locations because they’re protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) and can visit most places. Service dogs cannot be denied entry, even if animals are typically prohibited. They can go anywhere the general public can as long as it doesn’t pose a danger to general health and safety.
Whether you see pet dogs allowed in hospitals depends on the facility’s rules and regulations. They must be well-socialized so they don’t cause commotion in shared spaces. Some hospitals may also require special notice ahead of time, as well as updated veterinary records. Still, not every medical center will allow pets as visitors.
What Do Therapy Dogs Do?
Therapy dogs are specifically trained to serve in hospitals, where people need them most. They provide animal-assisted therapy (AAT), which can help people who require long-and short-term care. They can benefit all patients, from those being treated for cancer to children who need a spark of hope.
Some of a therapy dog’s responsibilities include the following:
- Provide comfort for patients
- Give people socialization opportunities
- Help patients work on physical skills, like walking
Spending time with therapy dogs can remind patients of their own dogs at home, who may not have been able to visit the hospital for several reasons. It can encourage someone to think of all the folks cheering them on and waiting for them to be discharged, as well as what they can look forward to once they are. Those who may not be able to go home can find calmness and peace in the form of a dog cuddling with them or sitting by their bedside.
Therapy dogs also may be able to help hospital staff. These facilities typically have a shortage of health care professionals and high turnover, which can lead to severe burnout from carrying the stress of multiple responsibilities. Even if the dog wasn’t meant for workers, having an animal around may decrease some stress.
Of course, risks are inherent when working with any animal, as they sometimes display unpredictable behavior. Hospitals should also ensure they keep their facilities clean and have intensive sanitation protocols for the working dogs that enter their doors. However, a dog doesn’t have to be working to benefit you.
How a Pet Dog Can Benefit You
Therapy dogs aren’t the only dogs allowed in hospitals. Some will allow pets in rooms with their owners, which could benefit a hospitalized person greatly. Simply having animals nearby can improve moods. Even the media has portrayed how much a dog’s love can make a difference to someone. Your pet might offer just the kind of healing you need for your condition to improve.
Owning a pet can lower your blood pressure levels, which can be a lifesaver for anyone striving to have a healthier heart. They can improve your mental health by encouraging you to be active and go outside. Thanks to a new physical routine, you may be able to lower your risk of diabetes and prediabetes, which can be brought on by high blood pressure and lack of activity.
Dogs are a big responsibility but are worth all the health benefits you’ll receive. You must feed your pup a good diet based on the breed’s needs, which could encourage you to improve your own eating habits.
Hospitals Can Benefit From Canine Visits
Dogs allowed in hospitals serve a purpose. Typically, they’re there to work. On rare occasions, they might be pets coming to comfort their owners. You should know why allowing dogs in hospitals is good for everyone else, as it might help you advocate for comfort and healing for a friend of yours. Dogs are miraculous creatures and can fill almost any role — including helping hospital patients heal.