all Chronic Fatigue/M.E. Fibromyalgia Mental Health

How Animal Assisted Therapy Reduces Chronic Symptoms ~6 Ways Your Pet Could Lessen FMS Symptoms

May 25

Are you one of the 79 million households in America that couldn’t imagine a life without their ‘other-species’ companion? Me too!

I can personally attest to the fact that animal assisted therapy reduces chronic symptoms. I can’t imagine not having a dog in my life, especially my ‘therapy corgi’, Lily. There’s nothing like a dog at your side as you meet each day’s challenges. I have nothing against cats, I simply value not having my immune system go into ‘combat mode’ when it comes in contact with their dander…it’s not pretty.

Having the companionship of an animal can be especially beneficial to the chronically ill Click To Tweet

Having the companionship of an animal can be especially beneficial to the chronically ill. I have written previously on my personal journey through FMS with my dog Lily, and again in relation to the alarming suicide statistics within the Fibromyalgia community. Even Lily herself gave an interview last year where she explained her role as a ‘therapy’ dog.

In a room full of people there can be topics, that unless ‘fist fighting’ is part of the agenda, are best steered clear of. However, differences of opinion and ideology go out the window when the subject of furry friends arises.

And I have not forgotten the 39 million cat owners out there. Although ‘cat therapy’ looks a little different…

I kid, I kid…Cats can be extremely beneficial to the improvement of your health…

6 Ways Animal Assisted Therapy Reduces Chronic Symptoms

  1. Pets raise serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, which in turn improves mood levels.

  2. ‘Calming effect’ of petting your fur ball can lower blood pressure and decrease heart attack risk.

  3. Dogs can get you moving more; talking a walk, throwing a ball, basic care giving needs your pet requires, ect.

  4. Pet owners are less likely to suffer depression.

  5. Pets offer comfort, often showing amazing skill at ’empathizing’ with their owners.

  6. All the above = STRESS REDUCTION, and Stress reduction = LESSENING OF SYMPTOM SEVERITY

How Animal Assisted Therapy Reduces Chronic Symptoms

Pets raise serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain... Click To Tweet

Animal assisted therapy reduces chronic symptoms simply because of this; ‘How can you look into those precious-puppy-dewed-eyes, and NOT HELP but feel better?!

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22 Comments

  • Reply halfa1000miles May 26 at 3:02 pm

    Hi, Kristine! Nice to meet you. Yay, just yay! I am surrounded by cat people. I have a Corgi also (Farley) and they are the funniest dogs ever. We also have a Bernese Mountain Dog (Tater). We’re such dog people that when we picked a winery to go to this weekend (we never have been to one), one said it had Great Danes wandering the property, so we went for that one. We live in a city (Greenville, SC) that allows dogs in all the sidewalk portions of the restaurants. They are extremely therapeutic, even to hang out with someone else’s for a couple of hours. I totally agree with all this 🙂
    halfa1000miles recently posted…FREE 5-Year Q&A CalendarMy Profile

    • Reply kristine May 26 at 8:11 pm

      Hey ‘halfa1000’!! Good to see you here! I LOVE the fact that your city is ‘dog friendly’. Personally, I have never understood our country’s aversion to allowing dogs in resteraunts, shops ect. As long as they’re ‘well-behaved’ citizens (many of the human-speceies wouldn’t meet this qualification) why in the world can’t they come along? You see this ‘across the pond’ all the time. Have a wonderful time this weekend. Wine AND Great Danes?…Man, does it get any better than that?! 😉

  • Reply GGMandy May 27 at 11:43 am

    Coming to your from the Chronic Friday Linkup. I don’t have any pets but I grew up on a dairy farm and was always a lover of the animals. I have seen how pets have helped so many of my friends.

    I am currently writing a series on fibromyalgia awareness. I am just getting to the point of sharing ways to manage our pain. May I add a link to this post on my landing page? Presently I don’t have a linkup (I have to learn how to do that)

    • Reply kristine May 27 at 12:14 pm

      Are you kidding GG? LINK AWAY!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for condidering me for your landing page! Let me know if you have any ‘techie’ questions I may be able to help you with along your way. I may not be an ‘expert’ or anything, but I have learned a few tips n tricks along the way…just email me! Have a great one 🙂

  • Reply Lee May 27 at 8:53 pm

    I was talking to someone about this the other day and they said pets can be so helpful for people with chronic illness because of the unconditional love they have for their owners and that no-one else offers that complete unconditional LUV! I really enjoyed Lily’s interview – what a lovely dog you have.

    • Reply kristine May 27 at 8:57 pm

      Thanks Lee! She’s my pup! ( I’m a little biased 😉 ) Pets aren’t for everyone, but I couldn’t do without one! Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Reply Brandi Clevinger May 31 at 6:00 am

    Lily is so adorable! Pets do help with fibromyalgia symptoms, and they can sense when something is not right. Whenever I’m in a flair, Tom the cat is on me like white on rice. And he stays near me until I’m getting better.

    My mom is battling depression (she hasn’t said so, but I’m her daughter and I can tell), so my husband and I got her a kitten this past Mother’s Day. She did not object to her. It was an instant bond! Izzy (she named the kitten Izzy) went straight to my mom and slept with her the very first night. When she asked me why I had gotten her a cat when she didn’t ask for one, I told her because it will help with her fibro symptoms by easing her pain. She smiled and quietly said, “Thank you for thinking of me.” My mom and Izzy are so happy!
    Brandi Clevinger recently posted…I Won’t Let Illness Stop Me From Living My LifeMy Profile

    • Reply kristine May 31 at 7:27 am

      That’s an awesome story about Izzy! I bet she’s a sweetie! ♥

  • Reply Brandi Clevinger May 31 at 6:02 am

    Oh, and cats are butts compared to dogs. Lol
    Brandi Clevinger recently posted…I Won’t Let Illness Stop Me From Living My LifeMy Profile

  • Reply Nikki May 31 at 3:53 pm

    I love this! We lost our child with the fur and tail about 2 years ago, we were devastated and cried for weeks. We are ready emotionally to get a new dog, but with all of our financial issues due to health related bills we have not been able to get another one. Soon, we will. I love the 6 reasons stated above, not only do I have an AI disease, the rest of my family suffers from depression and anxiety is an issue too. I love that not only will a dog make us happy, it can make us healthy. All the more reason to focus on getting another one soon. BTW, I am allergic to cats, the dander, so a dog is definitely our choice!
    Nikki recently posted…Social Media Blast. Define your Focus! Instagram!My Profile

    • Reply kristine May 31 at 8:45 pm

      So sorry for your loss, even after years, it can still hurt. I hope you will be able to get a dog soon! They bring such joy ♥

  • Reply mimi June 1 at 4:37 pm

    My dog and I are a certified pet therapy team. Despite the misery of my FMS and CIDP we still manage to make our weekly visits to a local hospital and school for special needs kids most of the time. The happiness we bring to so many people gets me away from my own stuff and keeps me going. My dog and 4 cats are my best medicine!

    • Reply kristine June 1 at 5:44 pm

      That’s awesome Mimi! And how great that is that you help others in spite of all you personally deal with. Hugs to the furry kids! 🙂

  • Reply Chronic Friday Linkup 20 - Being Fibro Mom June 3 at 5:01 am

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  • Reply Lizzy June 6 at 9:30 am

    I honestly think I would die without my dogs. Sometimes I wish they’d go away (two very needy doxies) but what would be the point in coming home without them there waiting for me? Then the pain really would be too much to bear without them.

    • Reply kristine June 6 at 10:07 am

      Dogs are THE BEST!!! ♥♥♥

  • Reply Lizzy June 6 at 10:35 am

    You know Kristine, I don’t really think it’s my dogs that are so needy, i think they’re just trying to be there for me because they can sense how much pain i’m in. Two dogs, even little ones, on top of me all the time doesn’t really help though. In some cases it aggravates the pain and because of the weight of their bodies laying on top of my leg (most lately because of my knee), or pushing against my legs or hips from both sides. Nonetheless, I couldn’t do without out them.

  • Reply Deborah Davis June 6 at 7:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing this helpful and enlightening insights on How Animal Assisted Therapy Reduces Chronic Symptoms: 6 Ways Your Pet Could Lessen FMS Symptoms at the the Healthy Happy Green Natural Party! I’m Pinning and sharing this!
    Deborah Davis recently posted…It’s Party Time at the Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop #114My Profile

  • Reply Debbie June 14 at 2:52 pm

    Great article! I couldn’t love and appreciate my babies any more than I do! Yes, babies! Lol! A dog (a Beagle of all things! Haha!) and two cats! (A tabby of course! And a Siamese!) Now between the 3 of them, I definitely get most of my exercise from my beagle! He pretty much FORCES the issue! But if fatigue takes over or I’m in too much pain and a walk’s not in the cards, you can be sure my cats will gladly help to fill any voids! I’m either “running”(<—HA!) to dodge my 17lb., and HEALTHY, YES, HEALTHY!, Tabby cat's attempts at hunting my feet and ankles or I'm tossing a little pom-pom ball for my petite, still in kitten stage, Siamese who's favorite game is FETCH! Lol!
    I couldn't imagine my life without them. They bring me comfort, laughter, companionship, exercise, and on those really bad days, a reason to get out of bed. (Cuz I don't know 'bout you, but my dog REFUSES to use the toilet!!! And I can't get either of the cats to pitch in and serve up a meal every once in awhile!! Lol!)

    Thank you for sharing this fun and important article!

    Sincerely,
    Debbie

    • Reply kristine June 15 at 12:41 pm

      HAHA! Sounds like a whole lot of fun at your place Debbie! 🙂 You’ve got quite the ‘beastly brood’ going there! 😉 Thank you so much for your comment! ♥

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