How Emotional Support Animals can improve health and uplift moods

Aug 10, 2022 | Cats, Dogs, Emotional Support Animals, Mental Health

Emotional Support Animals have significant health benefits. Caring for a dog, cat or other animal can help relieve depression and anxiety, reduce stress and improve heart health.

Most pet owners are clearly aware of the immediate joy that comes from living together with a companion animal. However, many are unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that also accompany the pleasure of spending time with a furry friend. Only recently has research begun to scientifically examine the benefits of the human-animal bond.



Pets have evolved seriously in recent times. They have become sensitive to people, our behaviors and emotions. Dogs, for example, are able to understand many of the words we use. They also interpret our tone of voice, body language and gestures. And like any good human friend, a faithful dog will look you in the eye to assess your emotional state and try to understand what you are thinking and feeling.

Pets, especially dogs and cats, can reduce stress, anxiety and depression. They help alleviate loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness. And in many cases, they can improve cardiovascular health. Because of this, they are excellent Emotional Support Animals. Caring for an animal can help children grow up to be more confident and active. Animals are also valuable companions for the elderly. But perhaps most importantly, a pet can bring real joy and unconditional love into your life.


Any Emotional Support Animal can improve your health

People who have Emotional Support Pets often experience greater health benefits than those who don’t. And it doesn’t have to be a dog or cat. A rabbit can be ideal if you’re allergic to other animals or have limited space, but still want a furry friend to socialize with. Birds encourage social interaction and help keep your mind sharp, especially for older people. Snakes, lizards and other reptiles can be exotic companions. Even watching fish in an aquarium can help relieve muscle tension and lower heart rate.


Owners of Emotional Support Animals are less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t have them.
People who have ESAs have lower blood pressure in stressful situations compared to those who don’t. One study even showed that when people with borderline hypertension got dogs from a shelter, their blood pressure dropped significantly within five months.
Playing with a dog, cat or other pet increases serotonin and dopamine levels, which are calming and relaxing.



Emotional Support Pet owners have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels (indicators of heart disease) than those who do not have pets.
Patients who have had a heart attack and have ESAs survive longer than those who don’t have them.
Owners of Emotional Support Animals over the age of 65 are 30 percent less likely to see a doctor than those who don’t have them.

One reason for this therapeutic effect is that animals satisfy a basic human need to be touched. Even hardened criminals in prison show lasting changes in their behavior after interacting with pets, many of them experiencing mutual affection for the first time. Stroking, cuddling or other touches from a loving animal can quickly soothe and calm you when you are stressed or anxious.


Friendly companionship with Emotional Support Animals can also alleviate loneliness, and most dogs are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can significantly lift your mood and alleviate depression.


Get connected with a licensed healthcare professional to obtain an ESA letter


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