Why puppy therapy is great for mental wellbeing
Puppy therapy is a thing? It really is, and it’s been making a difference in peoples’ lives for a long time. At Paws in Work, we see firsthand the difference that some time spent playing with puppies can make. By taking just 25 minutes away from their desk to relax and do something different, employees moods are instantly lifted and smiles are never-ending. Suddenly those deadlines, or an inbox that just doesn't seem to clear isn't so daunting after all.
Does puppy therapy work?
Spending time with animals is something that has been proven time and time again to have a positive effect on the mental health and well-being of people of all ages. Trained therapy dogs have been found help to calm people in hospitals, care homes, schools and even disaster sites. Supporting research by UCLA that states that animal-assisted therapy lowers anxiety, provides comfort, and even releases the hormone Phenylethylamine which has the same effect as chocolate; now that's a study we would have loved to participate in!
At Paws in Work puppy therapy events, it’s immediately clear that playing with our furry friends makes a big difference to those employees who come along. The puppies bring with them a sense of simple, pure fun, with the added bonus of their eagerness to give affection (and receive it!). Not only does it give attendees 25 minutes of relaxation, but it can also break down those barriers between colleagues during a working day. Seeing your CEO making funny noises at a loveable puppy, a sight you thought you'd never see!
The science of puppy therapy.
Playing with puppies, like playing with other animals, can lower blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health (much better than 25 minutes on a treadmill if you ask us). Healthline states that animal therapy can reduce anxiety and assist with depression, motivation and loneliness. It can also elevate levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which calm and relax us whilst simultaneously releasing oxytocin, a hormone associated with affection and bonding. The benefits really are endless!
Puppy therapy is good for the puppies too.
Being introduced to new people and enjoying simple playtime is a wonderful way for puppies to further develop their socialising and build their confidence. It can help them to understand how to play, how to make new friends and how to understand the world around them better.
Lack of socialisation in dogs can result in emotional and behavioral issues around people or in certain situations. By socialising a puppy in their early weeks they are less likely to be fearful or aggressive when experiencing something new.
The puppies we work with at Paws in Work are responding to new experiences every day in a controlled and safe environment. The events help build the puppies confidence through positive reinforcement when being presented with things that may have been daunting, such as a car journey or a loud fire alarm test. All of this is done whilst meeting up to 80 employees a day, vital for their socialisation.
Awareness of mental health issues and stress is important to the well-being of all of us. Through our puppy therapy sessions, Paws in Work is proud to be able to help in our own way. Making a better life for people and pups.
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