An emotional support dog is a companion for disabled people that offers comfort, affection, and relief to them. If you’re an animal lover, you would agree that dogs can bond deeply with their owners and their presence can provide motivation and support. However, the difference here is that emotional support dogs are not just pets; they’re prescribed by a healthcare practitioner to provide emotional benefits to people suffering from a mental or emotional condition. Here are five benefits emotional support dogs offer:
• They can alleviate stress
Do you feel you’re being plagued by issues that are making you anxious? You’re not alone as research has shown that about 40 million Americans have severe anxiety issues. Anxiety can be tough to handle alone which is why health professionals recommend emotional support dogs to help people cope with the mental condition. Their soothing presence can help calm your nerves and break the cycle of anxiety.
• They help lower stress
If you’re having a hectic day, an emotional support dog can help zap stress by making you relax. A 2005 study by researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University suggests that spending about ten minutes or thereabout with a dog can help lower the amount of the stress hormone (cortisol) in the body. Emotional support dogs are typically loving animals, and their excitement to be with you and play can be the perfect way to unwind when you need stress relief.
• They can help lighten your mood
If you’re having mood swings as a result of being alone or you’re surrounded by people but can’t seem to connect with them, you need an emotional support dog in your life. Mood swings are one of the early signs of possible depression and researchers from Northern Arizona University have discovered that animals can alleviate bad moods. Even if you’ve had a bad day, coming home to a dog that’s genuinely excited to see you can help lighten your mood for the rest of the evening. And if you want to talk to feel better, your dog will offer you unconditional love and acceptance by listening without judging you for it.
• They can turn you into a human magnet
Most people who suffer from a mental or emotional condition often prefer to stay away from people, and this could worsen the situation. Having an emotional support dog can help lessen your isolation since dogs need regular exercises including walks. And while you’re it, your dog can help you meet new people as people will get the message that you’re friendly and approachable. Quite a number of people will even stop by and tell you how adorable your dog is which can be a great way to start a conversation.
• They offer a sense of security and familiarity
Do you feel awkward or uncomfortable when you’re introduced to new people or in a new environment? An emotional support dog can help you stay calm and make it through; thereby effectively reducing the feeling of uneasiness you may be feeling.
Finally, although emotional support dogs offer emotional benefits to people suffering from mental and emotional conditions, they can only be issued to such people through recommendations.