Can a Dog Help with Dementia?

Looking for a way to help someone in your life who has been diagnosed with dementia? Consider getting a dog! Certain types of dogs, such as therapy dogs and service dogs, have been shown to have positive effects on people with dementia.

From providing companionship and security, to helping your loved one stay active, a dog can potentially bring significant benefits to the life of the person with dementia. Before taking the plunge, however, it’s important to consider the costs and commitment associated with getting a dog, as well as finding the right one.

Can a dog help with dementia?

A dog can help with dementia! Studies have shown that having a dog can provide companionship and security to those with the condition, as well as bring some much-needed exercise and activity into their lives.

But before you rush out and get one, it’s important to consider the costs, commitment and effort involved in caring for a dog. Make sure to find the right breed for you, as some can be better equipped to handle the needs of those with dementia. Of course, be sure you can provide the necessary care and attention your dog will need – this is a big responsibility, and won’t be right for everyone.

Types of Dogs That Can Help With Dementia

If you or a loved one is living with dementia, then having a dog can really make a difference. The companionship of a furry friend can be incredibly beneficial, and there are three types of dogs that can help: therapy dogs, service dogs, and emotional support dogs. Therapy dogs provide comfort and support for people in hospitals, schools, and other healthcare settings, and can reduce stress and anxiety for those with dementia.

Service dogs are specifically trained to help with tasks like reminding the person to take medications, opening doors and even helping them to stay mobile. Emotional support dogs provide emotional support and comfort to those living with dementia, and can help them cope with and manage the symptoms.

Having a dog with dementia can provide a sense of companionship, security, and structure, as well as an opportunity for them to get some exercise. But it’s important to be aware of the costs and commitments associated with owning a dog, and to make sure you find the right fit for you or your loved one.

Therapy Dogs

If you’re thinking about getting a dog for someone with dementia, therapy dogs can be an excellent choice. These dogs are specially trained to provide comfort, companionship, and stress relief.

They can help by providing emotional support and companionship, which is especially important for those with dementia. Therapy dogs are also great for providing safety and security, as they can help someone with dementia stay aware of their surroundings.

Taking a therapy dog for a walk or playing catch can help with physical exercise as well, which is important for both physical and mental health. The great thing about therapy dogs is that they don’t have to be purebreds – any type of dog can be trained to be a therapy dog.

This means that you don’t have to invest in a specific breed or pay exorbitant amounts of money. All you need to do is find a dog that matches the person’s personality and preferences, and then have them trained as a therapy dog. Make sure you do your research before getting a dog for someone with dementia.

Talk to experts and other pet owners who have experience with therapy dogs, and consider hiring a professional dog walker or trainer. It’s also important to look into any local laws or restrictions that may apply to owning a therapy dog. With the right research, preparation, and understanding of the individual’s needs, a therapy dog can be a great addition to any home with someone living with dementia.

Service Dogs

Service dogs can be extremely helpful for people with dementia. These specialized dogs are trained to help with certain tasks that make day-to-day life easier for their owners.

Service dogs can be trained to open doors, pull wheelchairs, pick up dropped items, and even help to remind their owners to take their medication. Having a service dog can give both physical and emotional support, providing the feeling of safety and companionship that can be hard to get elsewhere. Before getting a service dog, it’s important to make sure that the person with dementia is capable of caring for it.

Service dogs require a significant level of commitment, as they need to be groomed, fed, and trained regularly.

It’s also important to find a reputable Service Dog training organization that can provide the right dog and the appropriate training. The costs of purchasing and maintaining a service dog can be high, so it’s important to make sure the financial resources are there to care for the dog. With the right research and planning, however, a service dog could be an invaluable source of help and comfort for a person with dementia.

Emotional Support Dogs

Emotional Support Dogs (ESDs) are a great choice for people with dementia who are looking for companionship and comfort. These special animals can provide unconditional love and support and have been shown to have a calming effect on those with dementia.

They can help reduce anxiety, stress, and agitation, and can even help promote better communication in those with dementia. They can provide a sense of purpose and routine to their owners, helping them feel more engaged and connected to the world around them.

Getting an ESD is a big decision, and there are some important considerations to keep in mind. First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure you’re adequately prepared to care for your animal.

This means making sure you have the money and time to provide the necessary food and medical care, as well as the energy and patience to deal with any behavior issues. You’ll need to make sure the breed you choose is suitable for your lifestyle and needs. You’ll also need to make sure you’re aware of the laws in your area regarding ESDs, as some places may have restrictions on them. If you think an ESD is the right fit for you, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

The Benefits of Having a Dog With Dementia

Having a dog with dementia can be incredibly beneficial as they provide companionship and security, as well as encouraging exercise. A dog is not just a pet, but a companion and confidant who can help provide comfort, stability and structure to someone living with dementia.

The positive effects that a dog has on people with dementia can be powerful and unique, and they can help alleviate feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness. The companionship of a dog can help someone with dementia feel more secure and less isolated.

Dogs can provide social and emotional support, encouraging communication and providing a distraction from the difficulty of daily tasks. They can also help to encourage exercise, providing motivation and a sense of purpose for the person with dementia. Having a dog can help to reduce agitation and aggression, whilst providing a sense of security and helping to provide structure to someone’s day.


Having a dog around with dementia can provide a great source of companionship. It can be a meaningful and rewarding relationship for both the owner and the dog. Dogs can become a source of comfort, providing stimulation and an emotional connection.

Even short interactions can be beneficial and can help bring a sense of joy and happiness.

Dogs can also provide a sense of security, reducing anxiety and worry. They can take away some of the loneliness that people with dementia may feel.

Getting a dog for a person with dementia can be a big decision and it is important to make sure that it is the right fit for both the owner and the dog. It is important to consider the costs associated with having a dog, as well as the commitment of time and energy that is needed to care for them. It is also important to find the right type of dog for the owner, such as a therapy dog or an emotional support dog, in order to ensure that the relationship is beneficial. With the right preparation, a dog can be a wonderful addition to a person’s life with dementia.


Having a pet with dementia can provide a great sense of comfort and security. Dogs have a natural instinct to protect their owners, which can be incredibly reassuring for those living with dementia. Dogs can also be trained to alert family members or caretakers when the person with dementia needs assistance or is exhibiting symptoms of distress.

A dog can be trained to help the person with dementia with basic tasks such as turning on lights or retrieving items.

Having a pet with dementia can provide a feeling of safety and security, which can be incredibly beneficial for those living with the condition. Having a pet with dementia can also help to reduce stress levels and provide a sense of companionship. Dogs are incredibly loyal and loving, which can offer much needed comfort and support to those living with dementia.

Pets can offer an unconditional love that can help to fill the emptiness that is often felt when a person is facing dementia. Studies have also shown that dogs can help to reduce depression, improve overall well-being, and offer support to those living with dementia. Having a pet can provide structure, which can be incredibly helpful for those living with dementia.


Exercising with your dog is a great way to manage the symptoms of dementia. While walking, jogging, and playing fetch are all great activities to do with your pup, swimming is a particularly beneficial activity.

Not only does swimming provide a low-impact workout, it can also help to reduce anxiety, improve muscle strength, and regulate the body’s circulation. Taking your canine companion for regular swims can provide an excellent opportunity to get some exercise and continue to bond with your pet.

If you’re just getting started with training your dog, keep in mind that it’s important to start slowly so that your pup can get used to the water. Start with shallow water and work your way up to deeper water as your dog begins to become more comfortable. You should also use positive reinforcement when training your pet to swim, such as treats and praise. With patience and practice, you and your pup can get the most out of your swims.

Considerations Before Getting a Dog for Dementia

Before getting a dog to help with dementia, you should consider the costs and commitment that come with it. Owning a dog is a big responsibility, requiring financial resources such as food, vet bills, and grooming, as well as time for training, exercise and play. You should also consider the kind of dog that is best for dementia.

Therapy dogs are specially trained for therapeutic purposes, service dogs are trained to perform certain tasks or activities, and emotional support dogs are certified to provide comfort and companionship.

Another important factor to consider is the environment. You should make sure the home is safe for a dog and that the person with dementia is able to understand and interact with the animal. If the person with dementia is living in a care facility, it’s important to make sure the facility allows dogs.

It’s important to make sure the right kind of dog is chosen for the situation. Different breeds have different temperaments and energy levels, so it’s important to find the right match.

If you’re unsure of which breed is best, talk to a veterinarian or animal behaviorist who can give you advice. Making sure you have the right dog for the right situation can make all the difference in providing companionship and emotional support for a person living with dementia.

Costs and Commitment

When considering getting a dog for a family member or friend with dementia, the cost and commitment should be taken into account. Dogs require a lot of care, are expensive to maintain, and can take up a lot of time. It’s best to carefully weigh the pros and cons before making a decision.

To begin with, it’s important to consider the financial costs associated with owning a dog.

From food to vet bills, the costs can quickly add up. You’ll need to factor in the time commitment it takes to care for a dog.

This includes daily walks, playtime, grooming, vet visits, and more. Having a dog around can provide individuals with dementia with a lot of companionship, security, and exercise. A dog is not a decision to be taken lightly, and it’s important to bear in mind that caring for a dog can be a big commitment. If you’re considering a dog for someone with dementia, be sure to do your research and make sure you’re prepared for the responsibility before making the decision.

Finding the Right Dog

When selecting a dog to help with dementia, it is important to consider the size, breed, and temperament of the animal. Smaller breeds may be more suitable if the person with dementia lives in a smaller space.

Larger breeds may be better if the person with dementia needs help with physical activities, such as getting up stairs or providing assistance when walking. Breeds that are known for their calm and gentle temperament, such as Golden Retrievers and Labradors, may be the best choice for those with dementia.

It is important to think about the commitment involved in getting a dog. Dogs need regular exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization.

They also require regular veterinary checkups and care. If possible, it is beneficial to meet the dog prior to adoption to ensure that it is the right fit for the person with dementia. If the dog is from a rescue organization, ask the staff about the dog’s past behavior and health history. It’s important to have realistic expectations about the time and commitment required for caring for a dog.

Megan Turner

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