Before Getting An Emotional Support Dog
BEFORE GETTING AN EMOTIONAL SUPPORT DOG
We need talk about the difference between a service animal and an emotional support dog because these are often confused. A service animal is any dog that is trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability including a physical sensory psychiatric intellectual or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not really considered service animals.
Emotional Support Dog vs. Psychiatric Service Dog
Another type of service animal is a psychiatric service dog. This type of dog is a specific type that is trained to help their owner with a psychiatric disability or a mental illness such as PTSD, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. These dogs are trained to alleviate some of their owner struggles such as reminding them to take their medication, or even barking to otherwise signal them to stop doing any repetitive or harmful behavior. They are actually pretty cool and they can be really helpful.
These are some common Emotional Support Dog questions people frequently ask about:
ESA Treatment Plan
Emotional support dogs are often part of a treatment plan and used as therapy animals. They are not considered service animals under the American Disabilities Act these support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and can even help with depression, anxiety and phobias. They do not have any special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. A letter from a medical doctor or therapist is all that’s really needed to classify an animal as an emotional support dog.
Emotional support dogs are extremely helpful for psychiatric patients who struggle to get out of bed or care for themselves, especially some who have struggled with suicidal thoughts, or maybe an even attempted suicide in the past. Having something that is depending on us to take care of it, walk it, feed it, you can not only keep fighting for recovery, but also help get up and get out of the house each day.
Emotional Support Dog System Abuse
There has definitely been an increase in the abuse of the ESA or emotional support dog system. Many people claim their animal is an ESA so that they can bring them into restaurants, grocery stores and even on planes. Therapists are frequently asked to write clients letters for their animals. Some are valid requests, while others are from people who the therapist doesn’t really even know. This is against legal and ethical standards that every mental health professional should hold themselves to. It is offensive, not only to my profession, but also to the people out there who truly benefit from having an emotional support dog . If all animals are given paperwork that they are ESA, then no animal is an ESA because there’s no special distinction, but there are tons of benefits. People abuse emotional support dog system.
Emotional Support Dog Are Good For Your Health
It’s important to talk about why having an animal is good for our health as a whole. Petting an animal can help lower your blood pressure and your heart rate, not to mention the fact that if you have an animal that needs to be walked it gets you up and moving every day can be really great for your health. Recent studies have linked petting animals, it doesn’t even actually matter if they’re fluffy or not. Even petting a turtle it releases oxytocin which comes from our pituitary gland of in the middle of our brain. Oxytocin is a relaxation hormone. It is the hormone that helps us attach emotionally to others which might be why we love pets so much. When oxytocin is released it decreases the release of cortisol. Cortisol is it’s a steroid hormone that’s linked to stress and anxiety so it makes us feel really really good.
Emotional Support Dogs Make You Approachable
It is believed that by having an animal it encourages others to approach you and interact with you. We struggle to meet new people or make new friends. Having an animal could help with that, not to mention there’s also meetup groups where it’s for dogs specifically, ESA cat owners specifically, and you go to places where you can bring your animal. It’s kind of cool having an animal. It is good for our health, it can improve our mood, lower our blood pressure, and help us feel connected to another being. So if you are considering adopting a pet, I say go for it.
There is so much confusion when it comes to support and service animals and this should hopefully have cleared up for you, but we want to hear from you. Do you have an emotional support or service animal? How do they help you? How did you go about getting one? And, don’t be shy if you are looking for an emotional support dog for sale, call us.