Drug Rehab can be a very stressful and involved time in anyone’s life. No matter what sort of rehab program you’re in, this time is often fraught with unknowns. Luckily, dogs are around to provide us with a helping hand during rehab. The mental health benefits of owning a dog are numerous, and they can provide some physical support as well. If there was ever a time in life where you need a dog, rehab is one of them.

Challenges During Rehab

Developing New Coping Strategies

One of the biggest challenges in rehab is the development of new coping strategies for everyday stressors. Drugs and alcohol are no longer available to help patients deal with stress, and therefore they must find new ways to cope. Dogs can help in this regard because they are wonderful at providing stress relief. They encourage their owners to get outside and get moving, which in itself can be very therapeutic. Having something to care for is also incredibly comforting to some.

Creating New Relationships

In some cases, those in rehab might need to create new relationships with their peers and family members. Dogs offer a non-judgmental companion during this sometimes turbulent phase.


After getting clean, some people are wracked with boredom. Time that was once spent on drugs and alcohol is now free and must be filled in other ways. Dogs can be very useful in this regard. Many breeds are always ready for playtime and will happily beg you for another walk around the block. When you consider the amount of time required for grooming, bathing, feeding, and exercise, dogs can take up a significant chunk of time.


The most difficult part of recovery is transitioning from a rehab center back to your own home. When you’re back in your own environment, it can be tempting to fall back into old patterns. For those who own a dog, though, they are provided with a daily reminder of why they want to change. Excuses that work for yourself or for family members won’t work on our furry friends. They rely on us – and only us – to take care of them. Plus, dogs can also help us break out of old patterns, especially if you did not own one previously.

Emotional Benefits: Dogs Improve Mood

Much of rehab is mental and emotional. Dogs can help tremendously in this regard just by being around. By their simple presence alone, dogs provide a variety of mental health benefits. Studies have found that dogs can help with management and the overall mental health of those with long-term mental health conditions. This is mostly because canines require care. If you have a dog, you must get up to take them outside and feed them. Accomplishing these small steps to improve a pet’s wellbeing can be very uplifting to some in rehab. Furthermore, dogs can also give those in rehab a purpose in life, which can motivate their recovery. When you have another being relying on you, you are more motivated to take care of yourself. On top of the caring aspect of owning a dog, the presence of a dog can improve your mental health. Dogs are scientifically proven to improve moods by simply being in the same room as you. They’re completely unjudgmental and provide constant companionship.

Physical Benefits: Dogs Improve Health

On top of all the mental benefits of owning a dog, there are many physical benefits to owning a dog. Interacting with a dog can lower blood pressure, for example. Of course, they also reduce stress-related physical symptoms, like headaches. Because they require regular walks, many breeds encourage physical exercise as well, which can then improve your physical health. Many of those in rehab are recovering physically as well as mentally, so these small benefits can do a world of good. Drugs and alcohol can do a number on your body, especially if you’re been using them for years. Plus, many addicts turn to drugs to treat physical symptoms – just look at the opioid epidemic. These physical symptoms and illness will need to be treated alongside the mental dependency part of drug addiction Arizona. Dogs can help by keeping you energized, active, and feeling your best.


Dogs can help us get through rehab in many different ways. Just their simple presence can boost our mood and lower our stress levels. Those with dogs also have to take care of them, which makes us exercise and can provide us with the motivation to take care of ourselves.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.