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The Healing Power of Dogs

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Woman leaning over and touching her head to chihuahua's head.

Dogs are not just pets; they are cherished members of our families, offering unconditional love and companionship. However, beyond their roles as loyal companions, dogs possess remarkable healing powers that profoundly impact our physical and mental health.

What got me thinking about this is that one of our members in our Facebook group posted this photo:

Chihuahua laying in blanket with sick older man.

And she talked about how her husband was in the hospital fighting liver cancer. His blood pressure was way too high and they couldn’t seem to get it down…until McKinley came to visit her daddy. Then it dropped down to completely normal.

Lynda (McKinley’s mom) says that Mckinley and her brother Rascal helped her when she went through chemotherapy for 2 years and now it’s her husband’s turn.

Another member Tina-Marie told about how her Chihuahua Nalla warns her when Tina-Marie is about ready to have a seizure. I find that fascinating.

Dogs and Mental Health

Some people now get their dogs certified as emotional support dogs. And they really do help with our emotional well-being. Watch this video of how this dog helps a boy with Autism.

Veterans suffering from PTSD have found solace and support through service dogs, who assist in mitigating symptoms and providing emotional stability during challenging times.

Therapy dog programs have gained traction in healthcare settings, with trained dogs offering comfort and emotional support to patients in hospitals, residents in nursing homes, and students in schools.

These programs highlight the therapeutic benefits of human-animal interactions in alleviating stress and promoting social well-being.

Animal-assisted interventions (AAIs), including equine therapy and dolphin-assisted therapy, have shown promise in treating mental health disorders and improving overall well-being.

These interventions harness the innate bond between humans and animals to facilitate healing and emotional growth.

Dogs and Physical Health

You may have heard about dogs being able to sniff out cancer. My little Yorkie Ziggy found my breast cancer and I credit him with helping me find it in time since it was a very aggressive form of cancer.

And I mentioned above how they can also warn someone when that person is about to have a seizure.

It has been proven in many studies that petting a dog has a calming effect on our bodies. Our blood pressure is lowered. The University of New York found in a study of stockbrokers who were being treated for hypertension, that almost half of those who adopted a dog, lowered their blood pressure enough that they were able to go off their medication for it.

Baby with basket of flowers sitting by white chihuahua.

In the August 2002 edition of the Journal of The American Medical Association there was an article on the results of a study showing that children who grow up with pets have a reduced chance of allergies and asthma.

Dr. Erika Friedmann of Brooklyn College found in a study that those heart attack victims that owned a dog, were 8 times more like to survive one year after suffering the heart attack.

Man holding chihuahua in his lap.

Dr. Jeff Burgess, a physician at the University of Washington Pain Center says “By initiating and maintaining the relaxation response, pets can take people’s focus off of their pain and elevate their moods.

Secondly, through touch or physical contact, they can block transmission of their pain from the periphery to the central nervous system shutting the pain processing centers down.”

So in other words, pets help us deal with pain.

Service dogs play crucial roles in assisting individuals with physical disabilities, such as guiding the visually impaired, retrieving items for those with mobility issues, and alerting individuals with hearing impairments to sounds.

Their trained abilities enhance independence and mobility for their handlers, significantly improving their quality of life.

Canine-assisted rehabilitation programs utilize dogs to help patients regain motor skills, improve balance, and enhance physical function following injuries or illnesses. Through activities such as walking and playing fetch, dogs provide motivation and support for patients undergoing rehabilitation therapies.

Health Benefits to Seniors

There have been studies that show that elderly people who own dogs help delay dementia. That’s because taking care of a dog helps the person to have something to focus on.

Dog ownership also provides them with exercise, and companionship and gives them something to live for.

Happy elderly couple holding a Chihuahua standing outside.

I have personal experience with this. After my mother’s beloved dog Prince died, she just seemed to lose interest in living and felt like she no longer had a reason to get up most mornings. She passed away about a year after her dog died.

Dogs truly are God’s little furry angels sent to earth to help us. Do you agree?

Has your dog helped you heal? I’d love to know your story. Let us know in the comments.


Can dogs make you sick?

Cathy signature Chi
blond woman holding white chihuahua

Cathy Bendzunas

Pet Blogger

I have had dogs all my life. I have been a pet groomer, worked in a pet hotel, and a kennel, and have bred and showed dogs.


Saturday 2nd of March 2024

My beloved husband died in 2007. It was our Chihuahua, 8-Ball, who got me through my terrible loss. He would let me hold him for hours, now and then touching my chin with the top of his head to let me know he was still there for me. I can't count the amount of times I cried and soaked his little head. When 8-Ball passed I searched and searched for another dog. After two months, I realized I was actually pining away. And then one night, there she was on the computer screen--Bella. I called the shelter, met Bella the next day, and brought her home with me. It took time, but eventually Bella brought me back to live once again. We have been together for 14 years now, and I look upon finding Bella as one of most wonderful events in my life.

Cathy Bendzunas

Saturday 2nd of March 2024

I'm so sorry for your loss Marguerite but I love your story!


Saturday 2nd of March 2024

I certainly agree with this. My little Chihuahua is the first ever dog I have owned. My mum persuaded me to get him when I was going through some very difficult personal things. I can honestly say he saved my life. ❤️

Cathy Bendzunas

Saturday 2nd of March 2024

I'm so glad you had your chi there for you Faye!

Suzie Hill-Tripp

Saturday 2nd of March 2024

Thank you for the update! Yes dogs are God's little love angels!!

Cathy Bendzunas

Saturday 2nd of March 2024

Yes, they definitely are!

Jane Freeman

Saturday 24th of September 2022

I love the stories and the pictures of these precious little Chihuahuas and Chi mixes. So happy on Fridays!


Saturday 24th of September 2022

I'm so glad Jane! You made my day.

John Trudeau

Friday 23rd of September 2022

When I meditate my dogs like to sit on my knee and be close to me. I asked my meditation instructor she felt there was energy attraction that humans and dogs have.


Friday 23rd of September 2022

I love that John and it makes sense to me.