Every dog owner knows how it feels to be around their best furry friends. It doesn't matter if you own a small or big dog or if he or she is a puppy or a senior. Dogs make us happier and improve our mood. Dogs reduce the levels of stress in our bodies and help to alleviate anxiety and depression. All dogs certainly have a therapeutic effect on people, no matter the size, age, or breed. They provide us with their loyal companionship. However, some dog breeds can be trained to assist people with both light or heavy mental or physical disorders. You have probably heard of emotional support animals, therapy, and service dog terms. But do you know the difference between them? In the next few paragraphs, you will learn more about these types of dogs and the benefits that dogs have on people who struggle with anxiety.
Emotional Support Animals
ESA's provide comfort to people with mental disorders. They are not only pets but also help people with anxiety go through everyday tasks more easily. No special training is usually required for an ESA. Emotional support animals are here to provide a person with an anxiety disorder with comfort, aid, companionship, and affection. These dogs do not have access to all public areas. Also, to legally be considered an ESA, the dog must be prescribed by a therapist. Some of the best dog breeds that make a great ESA are: American Staffordshire Terrier, Corgi, Irish Wolfhound
These dogs receive special training but a different one from service dogs. Therapy dogs will often provide psychological therapy to persons who are not their owners. For example, these dogs visit nursing homes, hospitals, schools, etc. Such breeds are incredibly friendly and provide different individuals with affection and comfort.
People with severe sensory, psychiatric, visual, or other disabilities have the right to be prescribed a service dog. These dogs are individually trained. They fulfill an important role in their assistance to humans. Service dogs can guide blind, deaf, and people with heavy mental disorders. When it comes to people with an anxiety disorder, service dogs will help them to prevent episodes with attacks, reduce self-harm, and more. These dogs must be intelligent, friendly, and calm. In the end, service dogs are allowed to stay with people in almost all public areas and fly in the cabin of a plane.
Dogs And Their Help With Human Anxiety
Dogs Make People With Anxiety Order More Active
Persons who struggle with anxiety often don't feel motivated enough to go out of the house. They choose to stay inside because they don't feel secure and relaxed in public. Also, some people may be afraid of an anxiety attack episode in front of unknown people. However, people who live with a dog know how important it is to go out regularly and keep up with the dog's routine. Many people who suffer from anxiety witnessed going out more easily after they became dog owners.
Increased Interaction And Socialization
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a type of anxiety disorder that causes people to feel uncomfortable in public. Because of the SAD, it is hard for some people to make friends, speak in public, or attend any kind of gatherings. Most people with SAD tremble or sweat in front of other people they don't know and because of that, they prefer going out with a close friend or a family member. Also, some persons with SAD feel like other people will judge them if they start speaking nervously. However, a large number of dog owners feel better in public if their furry companion comes along. Pet dogs and service dogs help us meet other dog lovers easier and interact with them. Also, they don't judge us or feel like we've said something foolish. If you have been struggling with anxiety, an Emotional Support Animal or a service dog can be prescribed to you by your psychiatrist.
Release Of Oxytocin
Another thing that is extremely beneficial for your emotional and mental health is the release of Oxytocin, also known as the hormone of love. When we laugh, have fun, hug a dear person, or play, our brain releases this hormone, and this makes us feel loved and bonded to other people. Unfortunately, many people with anxiety disorder have Oxytocin deficiency and this is why they often feel sad or unworthy. Luckily, it has been shown that your brain releases Oxytocin by interacting with your dog or simply petting it. Thanks to dogs, people who have anxiety problems will feel attached and more loved with time and this helps them connect to other persons as well.
Reduce Medical Visits
Dog owners usually lead a happier and healthier life. Owning a dog helps people to improve their blood pressure, reduces the levels of Cortisol (stress hormone), and helps people to feel less lonely or depressed. Dog listen to us and always stand by our side. Also, having a dog means that there is always someone who waits for us to play or walk with them. Dog owners who suffer from mental disorders feel like they are needed and their life has some purpose. Once they start using a dog as part of their therapy, dog owners begin keeping up with the routine more easily and going out more frequently. Eventually, such a life may lead to fewer visits to the therapist or psychiatrist and a possible reduction in medicine consumption.
Apart from keeping us happy, making us active and more relaxed, dogs make us feel like we are never alone. They are indeed our best friends for life. They distract us from sad thoughts and help us appreciate every moment. Other than that, becoming a dog owner helps many people with self-care and responsibility. Also, service dogs can predict and prevent anxiety attacks. They can stop people from harming themselves in any way. They are always here both for the children and adults.
About The Author:
Anna is a long-time pet owner. She became a writer in 2015. She enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending time with her dog and cats. Anna studies different topics related to pets and enjoys helping other pet owners through her work that she publishes on Petovly.