This post was edited on March 22 2023 by Purplepisces13
Many people in college struggle with mental health issues, over 60% of students are struggling with problems like depression and anxiety. One of the reasons this is so prevalent among college students is because they are in a new environment learning to balance their classes and social life, while being away from their family. Something that I found myself missing the most while being away at college was my dog. My dog is always there for me with unconditional love whenever I am feeling sad or lonely. It has been shown that dogs decrease stress and most importantly help kids and teens manage their emotions. Dogs can help increase students mental health, lower anxiety and feelings of loneliness, and overall make their owners lives better.
Dogs have been shown to lower the levels of cortisol in your body which increases your mood. Having a dog can also teach you responsibility and give you structure and a routine in college. I looked into the steps you have to take to register your pet as a therapy animal. As long as your dog is friendly and well behaved it can be registered as a therapy dog. This means you can bring your dog with you whenever you are feeling sad or anxious. For example, if you were having a bad day and needed to run errands or go to the library you could bring your dog with you. If you were nervous for class or had anxiety about a test or presentation you can bring your dog to class.
Therapy dogs are able to help people with stress and lower anxiety. Dogs are very helpful to people with depression or feelings of loneliness because a dogs job is to provide love and attention to their owner. Pets have been shown to lower people’s stress by up to 40%. There is also a study that believes people who own dogs live a longer and healthier life. Playing with dogs can raise dopamine, making you feel happier and being around dogs can lower your blood pressure.
Another example of dogs improving humans lives are service dogs. Service dogs are very different then therapy dogs and go through lots of training to become service certified. They can help people with more severe medical problems and diseases. There are dogs that have training to help people with diabetes called CPL diabetes alert dogs. These dogs can detect when their owners blood pressure is too low or high, they can do this by the different smell that the levels of blood sugar gives off. A large number of the dogs that are trained to help out with diabetes are also trained as therapy or mental wellness dogs which is helpful for their caregivers mental wellbeing. There are also dogs trained to help with POTS and people who suffer from seizures. POTS is a condition where your heart beats rapidly and your blood volume reduces causing you to pass out. There are dogs training to help people with POTS by calling 911 and staying on the floor next to them to provide comfort. There are also seizure-alert dogs who can warn their owner of an oncoming seizure, they are also trained to position their body underneath their owners head so they do not injure themselves while seizing.
Dogs are always there to make their owners feel better whether they suffer from medical conditions or mental health problems. I believe if there were therapy dogs positioned around campus or in classrooms it would help brighten up people’s day. They help people relax because you never know what kind of day someone is having and what little act could cheer someone up. As someone who suffers with severe anxiety, I know having my dog around would make me feel more calm especially in situations when I feel very alone. Over 90% of college students with dogs reported that their dog helps them feel more calm and less stressed out. I feel that if more people got a dog or pet in college it would help students feel happier and be healthier.