There have been numerous studies carried out that shows dogs and animals in general help alleviate stress and anxiety and lower blood pressure of hospitalized chronically ill patients. But what can a fibromyalgia service dog for you and are they a suitable addition to your life?
First of all having any pet requires commitment on behalf of the owner. Dogs can live for 10 15 years and they need to be feed, groomed, exercised and loved. Youll also need to ensure that your garden, if you have one, is fully fenced and dangerous household items are placed out of dog-reach.
Service dogs for fibromyalgia sufferers is not uncommon, however you will need to be legally recognized as having a disability under the ADA of 1990 (Americans with Disabilities Act) before you can apply for one.
If you already have the necessary disability paperwork youll need to fill in forms at your chosen service dog center and be prepared for a long wait, there can be long waiting lists. It can also be an expensive procedure so ensure you understand what costs are involved.
There may be the possibility of disability insurance covering all or some of the costs involved, so it pays to do some investigation into this first.
Think about too, what you need your service dog for. Retrievers are common service dogs as they take well to training and can do things like retrieve items, help with household tasks, open doors and turn off and on light switches. All of which would be a great help if your mobility is impaired.
But they also provide more than practical help, service dogs can provide a reason for getting up in the morning and help patients become more active. Having a constant companion can ease pain, as a dog gives you focus away from the pain and they have shown to improve energy levels and sense of well being.
Smaller breeds are also being used as service dogs, but for very different reasons their body heat.
One sufferer with fibromyalgia was introduced to a Xoloitzcuintli or Xolo (small Mexican hairless dog) and found that within 15 minutes of the dog lying on her wrists the pain with gone. Xolos are renowed for their exceptional body heat and she went on to have one as a service dog, trained to lie around her neck and shoulders.
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To find a dog trainer in your area visit The American Dog Trainers Network that lists dog trainers by state.