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5 MORE Ways My Dogs Help Me Through an IBD Flare

One of the most popular articles I’ve written for is ‘5 Ways My Dogs Help Me Through and IBD Flare.’ It got such a fantastic response from everybody that I decided that I couldn’t possibly limit myself to five. My pups help me in so many different ways, that I thought it was only fair to share a little more insight into the roles of dogs for those of us with chronic illness and share five more ways in which man’s best friend is such an asset to those of us with IBD.

1. They don’t judge me or make comparisons

Sometimes talking about your health issues to ‘humans’ can be tricky; especially if you’re speaking to someone also facing equally tough circumstances. I’ve spoken before about how sometimes chronic illness can become a competition. I’ll be honest, occasionally I just want to feel sorry for myself and mope-even though I know there are people much worse off than me.

I don’t want answers, to be told ‘just think of how bad x has it’ or ‘there are so many more people worse off;’ I just want to moan and mope and then move on. Dogs are the perfect listening companion in that respect-and they’ll hang on your every word (*quickly googles to see if it is normal to talk to your dogs about your problems or whether this article is going to make me sound odd*)

2. They believe in me

Dogs’ unconditional love and loyalty can’t be beaten when you feel blue. They don’t see you as ‘sick’ or the person that lets them down or cancels plans– they just see you as their amazing human who they’ll never stop believing in.

3. They make me feel useful

I spoke before about how dogs help with a sense of routine, but it’s more than that: it is also a sense of accomplishment. Dogs make you feel incredibly useful. Yes, a short walk and dishing out some food might not seem much to us, but to them; it’s what they depend on. Dogs need us and there’s something very rewarding in that when you can sometimes feel as if you don’t have as much to offer to your other loved ones as you’d like.

4. They help with anxiety and sleep

There’s nothing quite like a dog snuggling up to you. I’m lucky-my pair are tiny so they double up as a handy hot water bottle when curled up on my stomach! But the sheer weight of an animal and listening to their soothing heartbeat can do wonders for anxiety and even times when you struggle to get to sleep. Psychology Today explains “A dog’s rhythmic breathing, when one lies next to you, can help lull you to sleep. In addition, being near a dog increases our flow of oxytocin, a hormone associated with affection and happiness1.” So there really is proven benefits to getting snug!

5. They’re my happy place

Ever have an uncomfortable hospital appointment (hello blood draws or colonoscopies) and been told ‘think nice thoughts’ ‘go to your happy place’ to take your mind off it? Well, my dogs are mine. And when the going gets tough and I need a dose of positivity-I don’t think of sandy beaches or exotic holidays, I think of my pair of pups!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • rochellebrown
    8 months ago

    Hi! This is so true and there is really no one more comforting than my dog on my worst days. I am just wondering as I move forward is anyone aware of how I can register my dog so he can come with me and travel and everything. I am just unclear on the service vs therapy vs support dog and what IBD would be classified as as well as where to go to complete the process. Thanks!

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