12 benefits of Emotional Support Animals for mental health

Aug 2, 2022 | Dogs, Emotional Support Animals, Mental Health, Psychiatric Service Dog, Service Dogs

Many studies have confirmed the positive effects of keeping emotional support animals. Health professionals are increasingly recognizing their value in treating mental and physical illness. Emotional support animals offer companionship and more. Many people with mental health issues have noted that the combination of caring for animals and the unconditional love they receive in return makes a difference in their lives, improving their mental health and quality of life. Having someone around who needs us and can appreciate our feelings without expectation or judgment is of great value.



Owners of emotional support animals are much less likely to suffer from depression.



They have lower blood pressure in stressful situations.



According to many studies, owners of emotional support animals live longer.



Playing with pets increases serotonin and dopamine levels, promoting calm and relaxation.



Having an emotional support animal around lowers triglyceride and cholesterol levels. This helps reduce the risk of heart disease.



Pets require regular feeding, exercise and attention and can bring structure to a day.



ESAs provide companionship and satisfy a person’s basic need for touch. Contact is especially important for lonely people or those who have not previously experienced mutual affection.



Emotional support animals improve the quantity and quality of communication by providing an opportunity to strike up a conversation when meeting people on a walk.



Cuddling and petting an animal can relieve stress and anxiety almost immediately.



Dogs, in particular, promote healthy outdoor exercise that improves physical and mental well-being.



Children learn compassion, empathy and responsibility by strengthening their emotional intelligence through having animals around. Such companionship can be helpful for children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.



Elderly people can find more meaning and joy in life, stay connected and increase their vitality through companionship with an emotional support animal.



While we associate many of these benefits with dogs and cats, other emotional support animals, including fish, rabbits, birds, snakes and lizards, have also been shown to improve their owners’ well-being. Whether the direct effect is psychological or physiological, indirectly it all contributes to mental well-being.


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