Gathering multidisciplinary spheres from the domains of dentistry, psychology and veterinary medicine to exchange expert opinions on the prevention of fear of visiting the dentist with the help of pets and the idea of introducing a pet-friendly clinic.
The feeling of discomfort at the dentist is an inevitable phenomenon that we all face. Avoiding discomfort, the visit to the dentist is postponed, which damages each patient’s psycho-physical health and makes it difficult for the dentist to provide adequate therapy. The target group is children and adults who love or have animals as pets, but also all people who are unfamiliar with the therapeutic benefits of animals, both in everyday life and in hospitals, clinics and similar places.
A discussion between veterinarians, psychologists and dentists on the topic of introducing animals to clinics for therapeutic purposes would significantly raise the awareness of the profession about the valuable aspects of the cooperation of professional staff dealing with human health with therapeutic animals or turning spaces traditionally recognized as stressful, such as hospitals and clinics, into more pleasant and more relaxed areas, enabling the introduction of therapeutic animals or the patient’s pets. In this way, the fear of patients or visitors to these places would be reduced, it would be easier to create trust, especially among children, towards health workers, and the psychological stress that a person feels when visiting such places would be reduced.
The most significant result of this project is that the participants in the future will potentially be more inclined to introduce animals into their work space and thus enable the reduction of fear and stress. In some hospitals and nursing homes, users are allowed to spend time with their pets and therapy dogs during treatment. Animals in therapy contribute to faster recovery and help lower blood pressure and cortisol, a stress-related hormone. Precisely because of the significant presence of stress in many patients, it is important to educate people about this concept.
Education about the importance of working on the mutual relationship between the owner and his pet raises awareness of the importance of animals in society and potentially reduces the number of neglected and abandoned animals. Many studies confirm that pets have a positive effect on human health. An increasing number of therapists and medical professionals use dogs to support their work and the expected success of treatment, regardless of whether it is the treatment of anxiety disorders or psychological limitations (fear of the dentist). People who are not (yet) pet owners are also educated in this way. In this way, abuse, abandonment and neglect of animals, both owned and abandoned, will be reduced.