For several centuries, individuals from all around the world have relied on dogs to provide mental and emotional support. Think about it, when you get home at the end of a hard day, how do you feel when you see your pup? Relaxed, happy, less-stressed? It’s clear why dogs are called “man’s best friend.”
While most people (at some point in their lives) have had the opportunity to experience the comfort offered by a dog, there are some individuals who need support from a dog just to make it through the day.
In the United States, an ESD – emotional support dog – is an animal that provides an individual suffering from one or more disabilities, several, positive benefits. These mental, physical and emotional disabilities have to be recognized by a doctor for the law to recognize the need for an emotional support dog.
You can learn more about this and how to adopt an emotional support dog here.
If you aren’t aware of the many mental health benefits offered by emotional support dogs, keep reading.
Reduced Feelings of Loneliness
It’s often isolating to try and deal with mental health issues or cognitive impairments. In many cases, individuals trying to deal with these types of problems have issues functioning “normally” in public and social settings.
As a result, many wind up isolating themselves because of how uncomfortable and insecure they feel. Unfortunately, the mental health issues they suffer are only exacerbated due to the isolation, resulting in the cycle going on and on.
It’s been proven that these feelings of loneliness and isolation are reduced when a person utilizes an emotional support dog. The dog provides companionship, and the individual no longer has to be alone all day.
Also, with the dog at their side, it increases the opportunities they have for socialization. For example, most dogs love to go on walks, which allows the owner to interact with others.
One of the most common complaints heard from those who struggle with mental instability is panic attacks. It’s extremely easy to become panicked if you don’t feel like you can trust your own brain and you are trying to deal with severe cases of anxiety. Over time, this anxiety can become debilitating.
If you have an emotional support dog nearby, it can help and counteract the effects that your anxiety causes.
There have been several studies that have proven when you interact with a dog you know and trust, it can reduce your stress levels. This, in turn, reduces anxiety and provides several physical and mental benefits.
While there are several mental health benefits offered by having an ESD, there’s a number of physical benefits, too.
With a dog, you have a reason to get up and exercise each day. This can be going in the backyard and playing fetch or going for a walk in the neighborhood or nearby park.
When there is a reduction in mental health symptoms such as anxiety and stress, your body will respond in a positive manner. Some of the other physical benefits that your emotional support dog can provide include:
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced cholesterol
- Increased physical activity
- Reduced triglyceride levels
As you can see, emotional support dogs don’t just provide help with mental health issues. They can also help you live a healthier life and have a healthier overall body. If you have considered the use of an emotional support dog, speak to your doctor. They can help determine if you qualify for this type of animal and whether or not the benefits would be worthwhile.