No products in the cart.

No products in the cart.

5 Reasons a TBI Service Dog Will Transform Your Recovery

TBI service dog and owner sitting by lake

Service dogs can make a huge, positive difference in the lives of TBI patients, even for those who do not have physical impairments.

Today’s article will discuss the many advantages a TBI service dog can offer. We’ll also take a look at what science has to say about why dogs make such great companions for brain injury survivors.

The Practical Benefits of TBI Service Dogs

No two traumatic brain injuries are alike. This means the symptoms a person experiences will vary, depending on how severe their injuries are, among other factors.

Some patients might have serious physical limitations, such as balance problems or brain injury paralysis. Others might not have any physical secondary effects at all but have significant cognitive and emotional difficulties.

Whatever issue you struggle with, service dogs can help make living with the effects of brain injury much easier.  

The following are just a few of the ways a service dog can be trained to assist with the symptoms of TBI.

1. Boost Mobility and Balance

TBI service dog and owner sitting on porch

Service dogs are trained to provide balance support for people with limited physical ability. They also help you practice PT exercises at home and can even learn to assist with activities of daily living, such as getting dressed.

Plus, brushing and feeding them every day gives you a chance to improve your fine motor skills.

Other types of physical assistance a dog can offer include:

  • Opening doors
  • Finding specific items or picking up dropped ones
  • Turning lights on or off
  • Getting help

In addition, a service dog can motivate you to go on daily walks, which keeps you active and promotes a fuller recovery from brain injury.

2. Assist with Memory and Disorientation

Memory problems sometimes cause a TBI patient to forget important things like eating or taking medications.

Fortunately, service dogs are trained to remind people these things, and can even retrieve pillboxes and bring them to their owner.

In addition, brain injuries often cause people to get overwhelmed and confused, especially when out of the house. This is where a service dog can definitely come in handy. If you get lost and can’t think clearly, the dog will guide you home and help you avoid objects that might cause you to trip.

3. Warn You of Seizures and Loss of Consciousness

black dog looking up at camera

Service dogs are also great for TBI patients with epilepsy or other conditions that make people lose consciousness.

Before a seizure occurs, the human body emits a distinct scent that only dogs can detect. Seizure-alert dogs that are trained to respond to this smell will warn their owners of an imminent seizure, which allows the person to get themselves into a safe position and avoid injury.

These dogs can detect a seizure up to 45 minutes before it strikes. This often gives the person enough time to take their anti-seizure medication to prevent or reduce the severity of the seizure.

Likewise, a service dog can help people with autonomic dysfunction, which causes fainting spells, by warning them when an episode is about to occur.

Having a dog to warn you of a seizure or fainting spell can give TBI patients the confidence they need to be active outside the house, which will help improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

The Emotional Benefits of TBI Service Dogs

Service dogs offer more to TBI patients besides practical assistance. There are also many emotional benefits you gain from owning a service dog.

4. Reduce Stress

service dog licking owner to help him calm down

Owning a service dog will help relieve the symptoms of anxiety attacks and sensory overload.

When the brain gets overstimulated, the body’s natural stress response kicks in. But after a traumatic injury, the brain can’t stop this response from getting out of hand. If the stress response lasts too long, anxiety attacks and other issues occur.

That’s why it’s crucial for TBI patients to find ways to reduce stress. And service dogs provide one of the most effective ways to do just that.

Scientists have found that petting a dog for even just a few minutes increases the production of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin brings down the heart rate and helps people feel relaxed and happy, which keeps the brain from getting agitated.

That’s why many veterans with PTSD after brain injury use service dogs. Just like with seizures, trained therapy dogs can sense when an anxiety attack is coming and will act quickly to stop it.

Most service dogs will come up to you and start licking or cuddling when they realize you are tense. Some are even trained in deep pressure therapy, where the dog will lie down on the person’s chest to help them cope.

5. Provide Companionship

dog and owner hugging on grass field

Beyond simply calming you down, service dogs provide TBI patients with a companionship that is hard to find during rehab.

Dogs don’t mind if you take a long time to speak, or if you can’t do the things you used to. They love and accept you exactly as you are. This can help brain injury survivors push through the depression that often comes during recovery.

Service Dogs for Traumatic Brain Injury

There are so many positive effects a service dog can bring to TBI patients. The benefits listed in this article are only a fraction of all the ways a dog will help you with your recovery, and your life after recovery.

If you are interested in getting a TBI service dog but don’t know where to start, you can find places near you that train and match therapy dogs with the right owner here.

Keep it going: Do you know these 15 essential TBI recovery tips?

If you like our content, you’ll love our ebook and newsletters! Get instant access to our TBI recovery tips ebook with 20 pages of helpful advice by signing up below.

You’ll also receive our emails that share survivor stories and more useful TBI recovery tips, which you can opt out of at any time. (We know you’ll love them, too.)

We will never sell your email address, and we never spam. That we promise.

More Ways to Recover with Flint Rehab:

Download Free TBI Recovery Tips!

15 Things Every TBI Survivor Must Know

Discover Award-Winning Neurorehab Tools

You're on a Roll: Read More Popular Articles on TBI Recovery

Do you want to sharpen your cognitive skills after a TBI?

Time with a speech therapist is extremely valuable during recovery, especially if you struggle with communication, critical thinking, or memory after brain injury. Insurance typically covers speech therapy for a fixed amount of time. But once it’s over, recovery is in your hands.

That’s why a team of neuroscientists and clinicians from Boston University created the CT Speech & Cognitive Therapy app. Designed for those recovering from stroke, TBI, or living with neurological conditions, the app contains over 100,000 cognitive exercises that are all available right from your phone or tablet. That’s like having a speech therapist by your side whenever you want!

This app is the perfect fit if you want to improve your speaking, memory, or general mental sharpness. And, it’s affordable at just $29.99/month!

Click here to learn more about the CT app

See what Miriam said about the CT Speech & Cognitive Therapy app:

“For the past 6 months, my son has used the app about three times a week. The app is like a virtual therapist, it’s very easy to use, and it gives him immediate feedback.

He now understands things faster, can make decisions with less hesitation, has improved recognition of words, and his confidence is higher. I also find it easy to get in touch with customer service; they pleasantly help out. The whole experience has been great.”

— Miriam

It’s like having a virtual speech therapist available anytime you want

With the CT App, you can get the guidance you need right from your phone or tablet. You can use it on your own or in between sessions with your speech therapist.

Whether you struggle with aphasia, memory loss, or critical thinking, the CT Speech & Cognitive Therapy App can help.

“The CT app has helped me gather my confidence by building on and reinforcing old forgotten skills. It helps to see my percentages increase, and work harder when they decrease. It’s very self-motivating.” -Kathryn

We are confident that this app will help improve your speech and cognitive function after brain injury. Like our recovery tools, the CT App is also covered by our 30-day money-back guarantee.

15 Things Every TBI Survivor Must Know

Do you know these 15 TBI recovery tips?

Get a free copy of our ebook 15 Things Every TBI Survivor Must Know. Click here to get instant access.