How Dogs Help Multiple Sclerosis Patients

By December 17 | See Comments

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Service dogs are uniquely trained canines which assist disabled individuals in a number of ways. Most people are aware of guide dogs that assist individuals suffering from hearing loss and lack of vision by indicating when their phone rings or to cross the street. These people are not the only ones who will benefit from owning a trained service dog. Canines could be trained to help individuals afflicted with multiple sclerosis as well.

Multiple sclerosis affected people have extreme hardship when they want to move from their present location to another. Their legs feel numb, resulting in instability, and an absence of balance. People with MS could suddenly fall due to a feeling of unbalance and have difficulty walking. Although canes help, physicians increasingly prescribe balance dogs to people with MS.

Role of a balance dog

The role of a balance dog is to help individuals stand up and sit down. They assist people to get out of and get in to bed. In short, these dogs help the person to perform daily activities. As per the Americans with Disability Act, a person's service dog can move to any place where the patient goes. For MS patients, a trained balance dog could help in a number of functions which include sensing when its human is tired and encouraging that person to take rest by a gentle nudging that individual towards a chair or bed. It assists people to get in and also out of chairs by bracing as the individual gets up or sits down. It picks up dropped items from floors like a pen or telephone. The dog can also push buttons in an elevator and even open doors if the latter is a specially fitted one. It could turn house and room lights on or off.

Companionship and compatible breeds

Other than helping with everyday tasks, the vital function of a companion dog is offering loving and loyal companionship. The balance dog, in order to best perform duties in an efficient and obtrusive manner, wears a unique balance harness. It also carries a supply backpack and could act in a discreet manner, like quietly sitting under a restaurant table.

Not all dog breeds make good balance dogs. As the principal function of the balance dog is to offer extra support, the said dog must be sufficiently big to sustain the extra weight. It also must be free from health problems. It must be eminently trainable and must be able to concentrate on the jobs which must be done. The common balance dog breeds are Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, and Labrador Retrievers. If you suffer from MS, and you are thinking whether to get a balance dog, first assess yourself. It is important to love dogs and to find out whether buying a dog would help you or not.

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