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Dog Friendly Rehab Centers

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

April 21, 2020

If you have a dog, you may find it difficult to attend treatment while leaving your pet at home. Thankfully, many rehab centers now welcome the presence of dogs because of the additional health benefits they can bring to the recovery process.

Dogs have been shown to offer people real physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. Many of these benefits are crucial if you’re suffering from addiction, as dogs can bring a sense of stability and love into your life when you feel like you lack both.

Petting a dog is a physically stimulating activity that promotes better blood flow and creates a sense of peace and calm. This can help reduce negative feelings associated with the social isolation associated with addiction.

Dogs also offer unconditional love. Your dog won’t feel any shame about your addiction or won’t give you any moral lectures. A friend like this can be crucial during the difficult period of detoxification and withdrawal, as well as in behavioral therapy sessions.

Counseling and therapy can make you feel emotionally and physically drained, and you may experience drug or alcohol cravings when things get difficult. However, a friendly puppy smile and a wagging tail may help alleviate your cravings and feelings of despair.

In fact, studies have shown that the symptoms of post-traumatic-stress-disorder, a condition commonly suffered by people with addiction, can be alleviated by dogs.

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Rehab Centers That Allow Dogs

The health benefits of dogs for people in rehab has led to an increasing number of treatment centers to allow pets to attend. There are several luxury rehabilitation centers around the world that offer pet-friendly services. However, these centers may be too expensive for many people.

Finding a less expensive pet-friendly rehabilitation center may require a little legwork. Simply call up treatment centers you’re interested in attending and ask if you can bring your dog. If they are hesitant or flat out refuse, try another treatment center.

If you think your dog is important to your emotional well-being during rehabilitation, you should find a center that will allow your pet. However, be prepared to travel or even pay a little extra for your treatment.

Taking Care Of Your Dog In Rehab

Taking care of your dog in rehab is your responsibility. Be prepared to bring food, bowls, leashes, and doggy bags for when they go to the bathroom. You also need to manage its behavior and make sure it doesn’t disrupt anyone else in the center.

That doesn’t mean you can’t socialize with your dog or take it to visit others. In fact, the health benefits of your dog may be transferred to them simply by its presence. A friendly, calm, and playful dog can bring smiles to their faces and may aid in their recovery.

Having a dog can also increase your social integration among a group of peers. Making those social connections can help build personal, emotional, and empathetic bonds that can make you feel less isolated during treatment.

Rehab Centers That Don’t Allow Dogs

Rehab centers that don’t allow dogs are still in the majority and there are multiple reasons for their exclusion. Some treatment centers are unprepared to deal with dogs because of the size of the facility or not having enough staff to deal with potential difficulties.

Other treatment centers are more concerned about kicking over a row of dominoes: if one person brings a dog, everyone will. And then they may have over a dozen dogs roaming the halls, competing for attention, and taking away from everyone’s treatment and care.

What To Do When Treatment Centers Won’t Allow Dogs

If you find yourself attending a rehab center that won’t allow your dog, you need to take steps to ensure it’s cared for during your treatment.

To make sure your dog stays safe and healthy while you attend rehab, consider these dog care options:

  • friends and family members
  • dog kennels
  • dog sitters
  • long-term boarding options

The latter two options are especially useful: dog sitters come to your home and watch your dog while long-term boarding centers will watch your dogs in an open, friendly, and relaxed environment.

Find A Rehab Center Today

If you’re convinced you need to find a dog-friendly rehabilitation center before you begin treatment, please reach out to us for more information.

We can help you find a rehab center that is right for both you and your best friend. Contact us today for help getting the treatment you deserve.

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