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What is the Best Emotional Support Animal?

What is the Best Emotional Support Animal?

Posted by The Fluker's Team on Apr 2nd 2024

Emotional Support Animals have been on the rise in recent years. More and more people recognize the benefits of having a furry (or scaly) companion. Dogs, cats, rabbits, miniature horses, or even reptiles are some of the many types of emotional support animals. 

At Fluker's, if you are comfortable with reptiles, we recommend our scaly friends, such as certain snakes, bearded dragons, and larger lizards, like iguanas for emotional support. All of these still need work by the owner to ensure they are comfortable being handled. Additionally, we always want to ensure your reptile friend is considered when bringing it into certain public areas. 

There is also evidence that watching a fish tank can have a relaxing impact and other benefits that support emotional wellness. If individuals are not comfortable handling reptiles, or any animal for that matter, you may consider fish as an alternative option. Reptiles can also be enjoyed in their habitat and watched from afar. Fluker's offers many dry diet products if one is not comfortable handling live insects to feed their pet. 

The Benefits of an Emotional Support Animal

Stability

Emotional Support Animals are animals that provide a therapeutic benefit to someone who is emotionally disabled or has a psychiatric disability. People do not view these creatures as pets, but rather as partners who provide solace and assistance to their caretakers.

By reducing feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness, ESA can help individuals with a mental health condition. The empathy provided by an ESA provides a sense of security and stability for its owner.

Connection

Pets have a special bond with their owners, where they feel a sense of responsibility towards them. This connection is different from a typical pet-owner relationship. They build a bond of trust, understanding, and unconditional love.

Emotional Support Animals can sense their owner's emotions and can sense when they are feeling anxious, stressed, or upset. They provide comfort in times of need, offering a calming presence and a non-judgmental ear to listen.

Both the animal and the individual benefit from the relationship. The owner receives emotional support and companionship, while the animal receives love, care, and a sense of purpose. Many individuals feel a deep connection and understanding with their furry companions.

Unconditional Love

These animals help people deal with bad feelings and also bring structure and purpose to their lives. Animals have a unique ability to provide comfort and companionship to humans in a way that is truly unconditional.

Pets have a unique ability to connect with us emotionally. Inherently, they do not judge or criticize and give pure love that can heal those struggling emotionally. They greet us warmly, cuddle with us, and provide comfort when we need it. Their presence can be calming and soothing, making us feel understood and loved especially.

Lastly, having an ESA can help decrease stress within the family unit. The unconditional love and support provided by an ESA can help reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. This can create a more harmonious and supportive environment for all family members.

Improvement of Social Skills

Research has shown that emotional support animals (ESAs) positively impact individuals' social interactions and relationships. ESAs offer companionship and emotional support, helping people feel connected and communicate better, both verbally and nonverbally. This can be especially beneficial for individuals who struggle with social skills or have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships.

In addition to improving social interactions, ESAs can also help individuals learn important life skills. Most animals are easy to train and require them to stick to a schedule. Individuals report developing a sense of responsibility, empathy, and compassion for their ESA. This can translate into improved relationships with others and a greater sense of self-worth.

Furthermore, having an ESA can increase one's interest in activities and hobbies. Having a pet can encourage people to exercise, perform specific tasks, try new things, and socialize more. This can lead to a more fulfilling and active lifestyle.

Improvement of Mental Illness

Pets remove the threat of rejection and criticism, so we can be ourselves. This creates a safe place where we can be open and honest about our feelings. Pets can help people with mental health problems like anxiety, depression, or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Having animals in our lives, like therapy animals or pets, can greatly affect our emotional health and well-being. An ESA's companionship can make a difference in how one feels and copes with things. Pets offer comfort, love, and mental and emotional support. They help us deal with life's challenges more easily and gracefully.

Improvement in Health and Wellness

Emotional Support Animals can lower stress, and blood pressure, and make people feel happier and healthier. An increase in serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain creates a calming effect and reduces stress-related symptoms.

The primary stress-related hormone is Cortisol. Reducing cortisol can reduce stress. Reducing stress can have an overall positive impact on one's health and emotional well-being.

The best ESA animals can help their owners feel calmer and more at ease in stressful situations. They play a crucial role in improving the overall well-being of their owners and giving them a better quality of life.

The Difference Between Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) provide emotional comfort and companionship to individuals with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. These animals provide support and help alleviate symptoms of these conditions. Federal law does NOT require special training for an emotional support animal, and you don't need to be physically disabled. They do not qualify as Service Animals under the American Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA defines a service animal as a dog trained to assist a person with a disability. The dog is trained to perform a task(s) directly related to the person's disability.

ESAs do not have the same legal protections as Service Animals. However, individuals who require emotional support still consider them important companions. Ask your local and state government if they allow emotional support animals in public places.

Service animals can go anywhere publicly, but emotional support animals cannot. In the United States, for some ESA permissions, you must have a letter from a licensed mental health professional. Proper documentation can protect the rights of people and their Emotional Support Animals. Laws like the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act stop discrimination against those who need ESAs for their well-being.

How Do I Get an ESA?

Overall, the benefits of having an ESA extend beyond just emotional support. Pets can help improve social interactions, teach life skills, increase interest in activities, and reduce stress within the family. Not all types of animals make good Emotional Support Animals. Check if you or a family member qualify, or find the right companion, by looking at these extra resources:

ESA Doctors

National Library of Medicine

US Service Animals: Official Service & Support Animal Registration

ADA.gov U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division