Dogs for calming anxiety patients
Did you know that there are dental practices in the USA that provide dogs for their fear patients to cuddle in order to take away their fear of treatment? Although this method is not yet common practice worldwide and should clear a lot of bureaucratic hurdles, especially in our latitudes, it sounds very interesting in principle.
Generally speaking, therapy dogs are being used more and more frequently to cope with anxiety, and with great success. In today's blog post, we explain how the Americans behave in this regard and why the use of therapy dogs is also conceivable in Germany.
Therapy dogs help not only autistic children
In the USA, more and more dentists are using four-legged staff to reduce the treatment process for children and adults. There are no extra costs for the patients. However, with the increasing spread of the so-called dentist dogs, shortcomings are also becoming apparent.
Unlike in Germany, the regulations in the USA are not as strict. There, nothing prevents a dentist from taking an untrained pet into his practice. Even the uncontrolled use as a comfort or therapy dog is not regulated by law.
Due to several complaints regarding safety and hygiene when using animal staff, the state of North Carolina has prompted the state regulatory agency to pass a law.
This states that only certain types of well-trained dogs are allowed in dental examination rooms. These dogs must not only be trained, but also healthy. Exempted from this regulation are "certified companion dogs", which are taken to the dentist's chair by their owners.
Otherwise, only dogs trained in a programme accredited by a specific organisation are allowed in dental offices.
Study proves effectiveness of dogs in overcoming dental anxiety
A small study published in the journal Animals found that patients with dental anxiety had lower stress and blood pressure levels when a dog sat on their lap during treatment.
Further research in this study showed that animals in health care facilities can generally reduce the perception of pain and thus lead to an elevated mood.