The Importance of Dogs in Addiction Recovery

Substance abuse and addiction is a real thing and can be quite a lonely place to be. It can be considered a form of disease and lots of people suffer from it. They may struggle with addiction to drugs or to alcohol.

The most telling part of substance abuse is the negative impact it has on the individual’s life and relationships with others. It affects their family members and even their pets. It disrupts their life, marriage, school, job and so on. It also impacts their health and overall wellbeing. You may learn more about substance abuse and its effects here.

Both humans and animals are affected by someone close to them being addicted to a substance. The difference between them though is that there can be a breakdown in relations with other humans. Pets on the other hand remain close and they stick with a person even through their addiction. It is therefore not surprising for addicts to develop a close bond with their pets when other relationships have collapsed.

There are many strategies for treating people that are going through substance abuse and addiction. One of these is pet therapy. This is when pets are involved in the addiction treatment or recovery process.

Dogs are one of the pets that play a major role in this process. They are said to be a man’s best companion, and this aptly represents what they do in helping a patient recover. They are very domesticated, friendly, loving, caring and smart.

They are also loyal and will stick with you through any situation. They are good playmates, and added to all these, they are very easy to care for. All of these attributes help them to form endearing and enduring relationships with humans.

Unfortunately, not all clinics allow pets and you may ask, “Is there a rehab center I can bring my dog with me?” The answer is, “Yes.” Some clinics are pet friendly and believe that pets are key to the recovery process.

Benefits of Involving Your Dog in Your Treatment

According to various studies, dogs and other pets offer numerous psychological and physical benefits to owners. They are also able to positively influence their owner’s emotional as well as mental wellbeing. This makes them a useful resource to explore during the recovery process from drug or alcohol addiction.

The recovery process can be very lonely and it is a time when you need companionship. Having your pet with you during this period can be emotionally rewarding. They can help to reduce your stress levels and improve the quality of your life. This they do by helping to lower your blood pressure and regulate your heart rate.

Dogs also help you to overcome boredom and loneliness as you can play with them and take walks together. They also help with providing support as well as interactions and engagement with other pet owners. This re-establishes their owner’s social involvement and improves their social status.

Furthermore, they assist in the recovery process by offering empathy and making their owners feel loved and cared for. They serve as family when human relatives are not available for whatever reason. They also help the recovering individual with a sense of purpose and responsibility as they have to be cared for.

Part of what a dog does for recovery is to teach the patient how to give and receive. As you take care of the pet, they in turn are there for you showing you empathy and friendship. With this, you can learn how to rebuild relationships and form new ones after a long time of being alone.

Critical to the recovery process is honesty and dogs also help with this. They do not know how to pretend or disguise their emotion and will reflect whatever their owners do. This makes them a sort of mirror to show the behavior of their owners.

It is therefore important that patients learn and show honesty as this directly impacts their treatment and those connected to them. You will find more benefits of having your dog during recovery here:


Pets are important factors in the addiction recovery process and dogs are one of the best kinds of pet to have at this time. Oftentimes substance abuse leads to a collapse of personal relationships with loved ones, but dogs remain loyal and faithful.

They stick with you through thick and thin and help you in many ways including providing empathy and emotional support. To get the best out of your dog during recovery, you should look for a clinic that allows pets in their facility.

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