Best Emotional Support Animal for Anxiety

ESA Pet Staff

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The bond between humans and animals grows stronger over time. Emotional support animals have become integral to people struggling with mental health issues. These animals provide more than comfort to their owners. Emotional support animals for anxiety help them to control their emotions and relax.

There are various ways to treat anxiety disorders. Most people opt for therapy, while others use prescription medication. Others use a combination of both. Another treatment for anxiety disorders is using emotional support animals. These animals help anxious individuals relax and overcome their anxiety attacks.

Can an Emotional Support Animal Help With Anxiety?

Everyone has days when they feel down and off. Some people experience more off days than others. People who perpetually struggle with anxiety can benefit from having an ESA. So yes, emotional support animals can help with anxiety.

Animals help to make people feel less anxious and more relaxed. Petting or holding your favorite animal can give you that effect. People who suffer from anxiety attacks often experience increased heart rates. Holding an animal can help to normalize the heart rate and reduce blood pressure.

Emotional support animals are great at easing stress and reducing whatever pressure you are feeling. They bring you comfort and peace whenever you feel overwhelmed. Having an emotional support animal helps to keep your emotions in check.

Some people often experience anxiety out of fear of being alone. One thing about animals is that they will always be there for you during their entire life. Emotional support animals provide much-needed companionship. Despite not being able to talk back, you can speak to them. Some pet owners have managed to find a way to communicate with their pets. You can vent to your pet and know they will not judge you.

Emotional support animals also provide physical affection, which helps in times of crisis. You can cuddle your pet or hold it if you have an anxiety attack. If you have a pet dog, then they even give you kisses. Any show of physical affection can help with anxiety.

The responsibility of having an ESA can help people struggling with crippling anxiety. Focusing on the ESA will take away attention from what is causing the attack. The responsibilities of having an ESA will keep you motivated to do things. An emotional support dog will require you to take it outside for walks. They are also playful and will keep you physically active. An active lifestyle is beneficial for people with anxiety. 

Lastly, the responsibility of having an emotional support animal gives you purpose. You feel motivated to get up every day when you have a purpose. It gives you a positive mindset on everything. Having a sense of purpose and positivity helps to manage anxiety attacks.

How to Get an Emotional Support Animal for Anxiety

It is important to note that not everyone who has anxiety qualifies for an ESA. You need to follow specific steps to qualify for an ESA for anxiety.

First, you need to consult a licensed mental health professional. They will provide a complete medical assessment to gauge your emotional or mental disability. This is to help evaluate if you need an emotional support animal.

If you are eligible for one, they will discuss with you the best ESA for your needs. It could be an animal you already have or one you need to get.

You will then need a letter to confirm your emotional or psychiatric disability. Only licensed mental health professionals can sign this letter.

This letter confirms that your condition is recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This means that you need an emotional support animal for your treatment. The letter may further state how long you have been under treatment. It also explains that they are familiar with your diagnosis and you need your animal to cope.

With this letter, you can get any ESA you are comfortable with. It serves as a prescription for getting an ESA. The letter should be e signed and have an official letterhead. This letter is often renewed annually. Carry the letter with you whenever you travel or go out in public. It helps to provide you access to many places with your ESA.

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How to Choose an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) for Anxiety

When choosing an emotional support animal, you need to look out for a few things. Not every animal can make an excellent emotional support animal. There are certain features to look out for.

First, the animal needs to be well-suited to become an ESA. Here are certain features of a good emotional support animal;

  • It needs to be calm and easygoing.
  • It needs to be loving and devoted.
  • It should be obedient and able to listen to its owner.
  • It ought to b intelligent and able to learn.
  • It ought to have an emotionally stable temperament.

Smaller animals make for some of the best ESAs for anxiety. They are most unlikely to cause an anxiety attack. They are also much easier to care for as compared to large animals.

Here are some of the best emotional support animals for anxiety;

Dogs

Emotional support dogs are the most common ESAs. Digs naturally lend themselves to being ESAs because they’re man’s best friend. Studies have shown that dogs are capable of making us happier and relaxed.

Dogs also help to manage blood pressure and reduce the risk of a heart attack.

Cats

Emotional Support Persian cats

Cats are the second most favorite emotional support animals. They are soothing, calming, intelligent, and loving animals. Stroking their furry coats can positively affect anyone suffering from anxiety.

Thei small size also makes them easy to care for. They do not require much in terms of maintenance.

Ferrets

Ferret frivolities

Ferrets also make good emotional support animals. They are playful, mischievous, and entertaining. They can easily brighten your day if you are having a bad day. They are also exceptionally social, intelligent, and interactive.

Ferrets can also be used in animal-assisted therapy. This is especially when mental disorders are treatment resistant. They are also small and hence relatively easy to care for.

Rabbits

Two rabbits bunny in the garden

This list would not be complete without including the cute and cuddly rabbits. Rabbits make great emotional support animals. They bond quickly with people and are pretty cute and cuddly.

They are also bubbly in nature. They can help brighten an otherwise dull day with their personality. Rabbits are gentle, loving, trainable, and suspiciously quiet. They also live much longer lives, so their owners will not suffer from much separation anxiety.

Parrots

Parrots also can be good emotional support animals for anxiety. Parrots are known to be quite empathetic. They are also naturally tuned to the environments they live in. They can sense an incoming anxiety attack once they get used to the owner.

Parrots are very intelligent birds. They can sense their owners’ anger, tension, anxiety, stress, or distress. They are also highly trainable. They can hence help people suffering from emotional and mental disorders.

They are suitable for people suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Miniature Pigs

Have you ever seen how adorable miniature pugs are? These animals make for some of the best emotional support animals. Medical professionals have also used them as therapy animals.

Miniature pigs love human attention and are pretty playful. They are also very entertaining. These animals quickly bring laughter and joy to the people around them. They can be pretty helpful in helping someone pull through an anxiety attack.

In animal-assisted therapy, miniature pigs have been used to help calm people. This is mainly for people experiencing erratic behavior for one reason or another.

Miniature Horse and Ponies

Ponies are some of the cutest species of animals. They offer more than just their endearing nature. They also make really good emotional support animals. Miniature horses and ponies can comfort anyone going through a hard time. It can be a good escape from having bad and harmful thoughts.

Horses also quickly bond with their owners if you understand how to communicate with them. Going for a ride on them can be just what you need to clear your head from harmful thoughts.

They can also be used in animal-assisted therapy. Miniature horses have been known to help people suffering from debilitating anxiety. They can also be used to help people suffering from schizophrenia, depression, dementia, PTSD, and ADHD.

These animals have loving and affectionate personalities.

Psychiatric Service Dogs and Anxiety

Psychiatric service dogs also provide comfort and support for people suffering from anxiety. A psychiatric service dog is a service animal. Service animals are protected under the Americans with disabilities act, unlike ESAs.

Psychiatric service dogs need special training to perform their tasks. The tasks are often related to their owner’s mental health conditions.

PSDs have many benefits for their owners, especially those suffering from anxiety. Here are some of the ways one benefits from having a PSD;

  • They can soothe someone during an anxiety attack.
  • They can remind one to take anxiety medications at particular times.
  • They can prevent one from self-harm during an anxiety attack.
  • They can alert their owner of an incoming anxiety attack.
  • They can be used to call for help during intense anxiety attacks.
  • They can prepare a room before someone with anxiety walks in. This they can do by turning on the lights or checking any safety issues for someone with PTSD.

Psychiatric service dogs are pretty helpful for people with crippling anxiety disorders. They can help you live a semblance of everyday life. They help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety-related mental illness.

The best part is that PSDs are protected under the Disabilities Act. This means you can have them in most public spaces. These include shops, restaurants, schools, workplaces, homes, and hotels. Service animals are not subjected to most pet restrictions like ESAs.

However, there are no specific rules regarding what can or cannot become an ESA. Any animal can be an ESA if a medical professional prescribes it.

Other Benefits of  Emotional Support Animals

Here are some other benefits of emotional support animals;

  • They offer affection through cuddles and kisses.
  • They provide a distraction from anxious thoughts.
  • They encourage good physical health. They help their owners run around and walk outside.
  • They help people to cope better with the symptoms of their condition.
  • They provide a soothing presence.

FAQs:

Here are some of the frequently asked questions on

Can you get an emotional support animal for anxiety?

Yes, You can get an emotional support animal for anxiety. There are many types of animals that provide emotional support for anxiety. All you need is a signed letter from a licensed mental health professional. You can use this as a prescription to get an ESA for anxiety.

What is the best emotional support animal for anxiety?

The best types of emotional support animals are gentle, calm, and non-threatening. These animals include dogs, cats, ferrets, parrots, rabbits, and miniature pigs.

Small animals also make for the best ESAs because they are easy to take care of. This can be helpful to people with crippling anxiety who cannot handle large animals.

Do you have to be diagnosed with anxiety to have an emotional support animal?

Yes, to have an emotional support animal, you need to be diagnosed with mental health illness. If you want an ESA for anxiety, you need to be diagnosed with anxiety. Other diagnoses that can get you an ESA include:

  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Agoraphobia

Key Takeaways

Anxiety can be a terrible mental health disorder to have. There are many ways one can treat anxiety disorders. One of the best treatments is by using emotional support animals. ESAs can be used to manage symptoms of anxiety. They also offer many other benefits. They provide companionship, affection, laughter, and a distraction from anxiety triggers. Assistance animals like service will also help you to perform specific tasks.

The fair housing act protects your right to have an ESA in the house. Under the Act, ESAs form part of assistance animals. This means that you can bypass any pet restrictions in a building. It also exempts you from paying specific pet fees.

ESA Pet Staff