There are many ways dogs can bring us joy. Whether it’s through their unconditional love or adorable faces, fewer things in life compare.

But some dogs are more than just pets, and they can significantly help with mental health. These pooches are emotional support animals (ESAs). 

Emotional support animals are on the rise, and for good reasons. Continue reading below to learn how emotional support dogs can be a tremendous boon for your family to help with mental health concerns, whether for the parents or the children.

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

An ESA is an animal that provides support and comfort for those with mental health disorders. A person qualifies for one once a licensed mental health professional confirms that the animal will help their patient with their condition. 

Unlike regular pets, emotional support dogs have additional rights and privileges. They can live in residences that typically have a “no pets” policy without any discrimination. 

That’s because the owner receives a letter from their mental health professional that states the presence of their dog is necessary to help with their disorder. 

The owner also can register their pet to protect their rights further. For example, someone living in NYC can seek emotional support animal registration New York.

What Are the Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Dog? 

There are plenty of reasons to get a dog. Whether you’re looking for companionship for yourself or a member of your family, dogs provide endless happiness. That said, people with mental health concerns can significantly benefit by owning a pup.

Some of the top benefits of owning an emotional support dog are:

Reduced Stress

According to research from John Hopkins University, petting a dog can help reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone that our body releases to help us respond to danger and other stressful situations.

Encourages Socializing

People with mental health concerns often have trouble socializing, especially if they have agoraphobia. There’s something about bonding with your dog that helps you with interpersonal relations. That’s why many licensed mental health professionals recommend people with social anxiety to get an ESA. 

It makes sense if you think about what it’s like to own a dog. A dog will protect its owner and can sense if you’re experiencing distress from being around too many people, helping to calm you with its presence.

Providing a Sense of Purpose

Everyone needs a sense of purpose. It’s what gets us up every morning and motivates us to improve ourselves constantly. However, people with mental health problems often lose their sense of purpose, only worsening their condition.  

Owning a dog gives you a vast array of responsibilities. You need to provide food, reasonable accommodation, and tons of cuddles to ensure they live the happy and healthy life they deserve. 

Final Thoughts

No doubt, dogs can drastically improve our lives. It’s rare to find a companion that never judges us and provides us with endless love and affection. Anyone struggling with mental health issues should consider adopting an emotional support dog.