Since time immemorial, humans have had animal companions, which is largely documented in tomb paintings, hieroglyphics and artifacts. One of the reasons for this 10,000-year-old companionship is that pets can satisfy humans’ need for affection and unconditional love – and as pet parents, we all can attest to our pets’ ability to provide us with boundless friendship.
Scientific studies have shown that pets give us much more than friendship and affection. They also help us wade through emotional turmoil and tragedy by positively impacting our well-being. Here are some of the ways that pets can help humans deal with psychological stress:
Pets Can Alleviate Stress, Anxiety and Depression
Pets are widely used for service and emotional support all around the world. This is mostly because dogs are excellent at providing their owners with comfort and support during distressing moments or when triggers arise. Owning a pet may provide a much-welcome distraction from things that may cause anxiety. Pets also help owners maintain a level of social interaction as dogs require regular walks, so owners are able to go out and avoid self-isolation.
The Daily Routine of Owning a Pet Provides Stability
Owning a pet requires that you create a routine that helps keep them healthy. Dog owners need to wake up to let their dogs out to urinate or defecate, feed them, and schedule walks throughout the day. This is especially helpful for people who have trouble focusing. The routine and structure help provide stability and promote responsible behavior.
Pet Ownership Can Help Build Social Skills
Animal companions provide us with friendship without judgment. This means we can communicate with them without the fear of getting negatively criticized. By doing so, humans can practice their social skills, and in turn, build confidence and self-esteem. In addition, as pets are essentially human magnets, they can also push pet parents to socialize while out on walks or on vet visits and get them used to communicating.
Does Breed Matter When You’re Looking for an Emotional Support Animal?
Some breeds are better suited for emotional support than others based on their overall temperaments and traits. If you’re looking to adopt a pet, here are some of the best breeds you can consider:
- Labrador Retriever – This breed is probably one of the most popular breeds globally, thanks to its laid-back, calm temperament and loyal personality. Labrador retrievers are also intelligent and easy to train, making them one of the best breeds for emotional support.
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are affectionate, gentle and attentive. Their energy levels largely depend on their owners’ lifestyle, adapting well to families and kids. As a patient breed, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels can provide owners with comfort and stability.
- Maltese – Maltese puppies are very attached to their owners, making them attentive pets, which is an important trait for emotional support animals. They’re also notorious lap dogs, which means they can shower you with love and attention whenever you need it.
- Golden Retriever – Golden retrievers are probably one of the most loyal breeds out there, which is also one of the reasons why it’s also one of the most popular choices for emotional support animals. Their understanding and intelligent nature may provide owners emotional support through tough periods in their lives.
- Mixed Breeds – It’s important to note that while purebreds are good choices, it doesn’t mean that mixed breeds can’t be effective emotional support animals. All breeds have the potential to be effective ESAs – it all depends on the bond between pet and owner. In addition, mixed breeds inherit some of the best traits from their parent breeds, making them healthier and cuter versions.
Maybe you’re thinking of checking the ads for dogs for sale, or you’re scouring through shelters and rescues for the perfect pet to help support you. However, remember that your pets aren’t supposed to be a magic pill for solving psychological trauma and mental issues. Your pets can support you through it all as much as they can, but you should also know when to seek professional help.