Pets can help owners reduce stress and anxiety. Around 74 percent of pet owners surveyed said that owning a pet has improved their mental health. If you suffer from mental issues like anxiety and stress, you may want to consider an emotional support animal to help you focus and ease your anxiety.
Should you get a California emotional support animal (ESA)? Weigh the pros with the cons and decide whether a support animal would be the right option for you.
Pro: Provide Emotional Support
Animals can help give a sense of good health and help people feel serene. The general health of pet owners is higher than those who do not own pets. Animals can also reduce stress and lower blood pressure.
You do not have to own a dog or cat for emotional support. Some registered emotional support animals include rabbits, pigs, and snakes. It’s all up to your preference!
Pro: Animals Need Care
Animals need care every day. They can give you a sense of purpose because they need you to eat, play, or even go outside to potty. You always have a job to do when you own a pet.
Pro: Get You to Exercise
Your pet can be a great motivator to get you moving. Walking or running with your pet is great for both of you. Walking your pet gives you an underrated exercise that can help your heart and boost your mood.
Pro: Help You Keep a Schedule
Animals help you keep a regular schedule because they want to eat at a certain time or be taken outdoors to go potty. Animals are very regimented creatures that have internal clocks to help you keep a consistent schedule.
Pro: Healthy Alternative to Medicine
A big benefit of emotional support animals is not having to take medication to help relieve stress. Medications can cause side effects like weight gain, nausea, and insomnia.
Having an emotional support animal is a natural way to treat your condition. Medications can also be addicting. Xanax is a popularly prescribed medication to relieve anxiety, and it is one of the more addicting drugs in its class.
Pro: Travel Benefits
Emotional support animals can join owners on a plane. Owners just need an ESA letter. You should give the airline a notice of 48 hours.
Some employment laws also allow you to take your emotional support animal to work under certain restrictions.
Certain living accommodations do not allow pets. If you have an ESA letter from a health professional, you may be permitted to keep your emotional support animal without any extra costs.
Con: Cost of Owning an Animal
Owning a pet and an ESA pet can be expensive. You have to pay for:
Equipment (leash, collar, toys, crate, etc.)
Preventative medications like flea, tick, or heartworm
You will have to clean more if you own an animal—this includes accidents and pet hair. If you are going to be gone and won’t take your ESA with you, you will also need to find care for your ESA.
The average cost of owning an animal is more than $1,000 for the first year. Average food expense is around $120 a year. Routine vet visits range from $100-$200 depending on the type of animal.
Con: Limited Laws for ESAs
In California, the ESA laws do not protect your pet in public areas like restaurants, government buildings, and hotels. Only service animals with specific physical tasks like helping and leading the deaf or blind.
Your pet won’t be able to go in these places for your anxiety unless the establishment has a pet-friendly atmosphere. Some restaurants allow pet owners to dine outside with their pets, including ESAs.
Con: Obtaining an ESA Letter
Getting an ESA letter from your health care professional could be a lengthy process. You also have to get them officially classified. Your health care professional needs to agree that your ESA is vital to treating your anxiety or depression.
You have to have this ESA letter in order to have your pet travel and live with you in some areas.
Con: Always Needs Care Even When You Are Sick
Taking care of a pet consistently can be a benefit and a con. Your ESA will need care no matter how sick you are. Your pet always needs:
Regular mealtimes with appropriate food
If you are too sick to care for your ESA, you will need to make alternative arrangements.
Con: Risk of the Unknown
Emotional support animals are not trained the same as a service animal. There’s always a risk that the animal can damage your home, bite someone, or even harm you. This is why it’s best to work with dogs or other animals that have been trained or have some background information.
You need to make sure you take time to meet with your animal. You may even want to meet the animal a few times before deciding to buy. Also, do your research on what type of animal is best for you and your living conditions—not all ESAs have to be dogs.
Looking for a California Emotional Support Animal?
There are numerous advantages and a fair amount of disadvantages to having an emotional support animal. You can get some positive social interaction, lower depression, and provide a calming atmosphere. These animals can also be costly when you consider food, vet fees, and also your time.
Do you have an open mind and want to explore alternatives to medicine? Talk to your health care professional. He or she can give you advice on getting a California emotional support animal.
If you are okay with caring for an animal and the expense, this animal will give you support, help you keep a schedule, and give you reasons to get out of bed in the morning.
Looking for an already trained dog or even a trainer? Contact us today. We have trained dogs for sale. We also work with trainers that will come to your home to train your dog.