Dexter our Therapy Dog Helping Children!

Dexter is our resident therapy dog. His job is to greet our patients with his wide grin and wagging tail. It is our hope that by patting Dexter, our patients will feel more at ease about their visit with us.

Cavoodles, like Dexter, are the perfect special companion dog. They don’t shed fur (which is perfect for a medical practice), they are affectionate and even-tempered. Further, because they are only small, they are great lap dogs. This is why cavoodles have been used as therapy dogs in nursing homes for many years.

Dexter aims to help the children of KIDS feel at ease while they visit for their appointment. It encourages the children to relax and play while their parents are able to discuss any concerns they may have about their child’s dentistry issues. Our waiting room is made for the children; with iPads, Sony Playstations, fun characters and lots of colour means no more telling your child to relax in the waiting room but to enjoy themselves before their name is called!

Many children have been taught to be scared of the dentist through others in their life however with the aid of Dexter at KIDS we are helping to provide them with a positive experience at every trip. Therefore, we are encouraging children and their families to continue their dentistry appointments every 6 to 12 months. Patients have a misconception that the dentist is costly, most of the time this is because children and adults alike go years without visits so by the time they realise there is an issue and book an appointment, the treatment plan provided by the dentist has had to cover many aspects to fully understand the issue. To stop this problem at KIDS we encourage regular appointments to make sure that all underlying issues are detected as early as possible.

Studies have shown that the mere act of patting an animal can lower blood pressure, ease stress and anxiety and lessen the effects of depression. This is great news for Dexter because he loves when people pat his soft fur. And it really is soft! The mere repetitive nature of patting an animal is quite soothing to stressed and anxious patients. Studies have shown that patting animals is also grounding for patients as they feel a bond develop between themselves and the animal. It is believed that it is this bond, however temporary, that helps ease the stress and anxiety.

Another way that assistance dogs are effective in treating a patient’s stress and anxiety is by distraction. And there is no denying that Dexter is particularly distracting for anxious children. He loves cuddling and playing with children and they, in return, love that there is a dog in the dental waiting room. Dexter is also quite smart and loves to play games. This is another distraction for children as they love to ‘train’ him.

Studies are continuing on the benefits of animal-assisted therapy. But the majority of findings thus far are the same. There are measurable mental and physical benefits shown when patients interact with therapy animals. So why not come on down to KIDS Mackay and meet our super-dog, Dexter. You will see the benefits of his kind heart and gentle approach for yourself and get to touch his soft, soft fur.

Did you know that the Medicare Child Dental Benefits Scheme (CDBS) was earmarked for closure in 2016, however it has been decided that it will be continued. This amount of $1000 of dental treatment is available. To check if you are entitled give Medicare a call 132 011 or login to Mygov.

KIDS understand that treatment options should not be dictated by how much you earn but rather the treatment plan that is best suited for the issue. Therefore, KIDS provide the option of DentiCare Payments. Please give our KIDS practice a call to see if you are eligible for the DentiCare Payment scheme (07) 3186 5738.


D’Arcy, Y (2011). PAWS: To provide comfort and ease pain. Nursing2011: April. 67-68

Kolich, H.N. (2015). With a little help from our animal friends. Vibrant Life 31.4 10-12

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