Dogs as Emotional Support Animals: Benefits and Considerations
If you’re going through a difficult time, whether it be as a result of a medical diagnosis or even a psychological issue, the good news is that a service animal may be able to assist you. There are many options out there when it comes to emotional support animals, but many would agree that dogs make for the best emotional support animals. Read on to learn about the benefits of having a support dog and some considerations to keep in mind when choosing one for yourself.
Benefits of Emotional Support Dogs
There are many short- and long-term benefits you’ll enjoy once you have a dog as an emotional support pet. For starters, there are a number of health benefits you can enjoy, such as lowered cholesterol, reduced blood pressure, and lower triglyceride levels. This is great news if you’re currently suffering from heart problems or have issues with weight management. Anybody who lives with a service pet, such as a dog, can experience these health benefits that can add years to your life.
Aside from health benefits, however, there are also a number of emotional benefits you can enjoy as a result of having a dog as an emotional support animal. Those who have dogs as support pets often find that they generally feel happier; this may have something to do with the fact that service dogs often provide companionship and a decreased sense of loneliness. In turn, patients with these service dogs also enjoy better overall mental health and a decrease in stress levels, making it a true win-win situation.
Furthermore, when you take in a dog as an emotional support animal, you also increase your social skills. That’s because, when you take your dog out for regular walks, you’ll have a better chance of running into other people and striking up conversations with them. Not to mention, since dogs require regular exercise and walking, owning a dog also results in you getting more exercise and spending more time outdoors, both of which are great for physical and mental health.
Choosing a Dog as a Support Animal
There’s really no “right” answer as to which specific breed makes for the best support dog. However, some have reported that Labradors make for great companions.
Generally, there are some traits you will want to look for in a support dog, however. For starters, the dog should be good at following your instructions; this includes commands to sit, stay, and get down. Furthermore, a good support dog should be obedient when walking on a leash; you should be able to walk the dog without the dog trying to walk you!
Support dogs also generally enjoy meeting new people and don’t get nervous or agitated around strangers. These are all important criteria to keep in mind when selecting a support dog.
Overall, dogs can make for the best emotional support animals out there. They’re friendly, loyal, and will offer you plenty of opportunities for improving your physical and mental health. If you think you could benefit from an emotional support animal–such as a dog–then be sure to speak with your doctor or therapist. From there, you can discuss your options and ultimately make the decision that will be best for you in the long term.