Emotional support animals can provide mental calmness to people who are emotionally disturbed. They can transform how you see the world by bringing joy and meaning into your life.

Often, humans need emotional support in life. Finding and choosing the right emotional support animal can be overwhelming. If you are considering to get an emotional support animal for yourself, then this article is for you! Let’s dive in.

What is an emotional support animal?

Emotional support animals are animals that provide companionship and comfort to people with mental illness or emotional disorders. Emotional support animals (ESA) help their owners by being a source of love.

People who have been diagnosed by a mental disorder and are currently getting treatment from a licensed psychologist are the ones who should have an emotional support animal.

When you have an ESA, you may access certain places due to legal protection. For example, the Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA) allows passengers with emotional support animals to bring them into the cabin for commercial flights. This legal protection applies even for commercial airlines that usually forbid normal pets into their cabins. 

Why some animals may not qualify to be emotional support animals

Any domesticated animal qualifies to become an emotional support animal. However, there are two things that must be taken into account before a mental health professional prescribes an ESA to a patient. First, the animal has to be providing solid benefits to you. Second, the animal must be easy to move around with. For example, cats and dogs are easy to travel with even on airlines. However, horses and pigs may be difficult to go with too many places. That is why mental health professionals may be hesitant to prescribe some animals as your ESA despite them being domesticated.

What to look for in an emotional support animal

Before considering the type of emotional support you want, you should take a look at your lifestyle. Do you travel often? Would you want to take your ESA while visiting restaurants or going shopping? Will you leave your ESA behind for a long time while on a journey? Or will you travel with it?

Once you have answered these questions, then you will find it easier to identify the right emotional support animal to fit your needs.

Here are some of the traits to look for in an ESA:

Ability to remain calm even in stressful situations

Since you have mental disorders, your ESA should be able to calm you down when things are not going right. So, you need an animal that can retain its composure when you are disturbed!

They should have a bond with you

The only way your ESA can bring you the comfort and love that you desire is when they truly have a strong bond with you. This strong connection is necessary to treat the symptoms of mental conditions such as anxiety.

They should have good manners

A well-mannered pet is easy to control. The perfect ESA does not bark or become aggressive without the permission of the owner. Ensure that your emotional support animal is also trained to obey the seven basic commands.

What are the best pets for emotional support?

Here are the some of the pets that may make the best emotional support animals:

Cat

Cat lovers will tell you thousands of reasons why cats make better pets than dogs. Cats have a playful mood and can bring joy into their owners’ lives. Most people find cat purrs therapeutic and soothing sound brings relief to their minds. Get an emotional support cat certification to be able to carry your favorite pet wherever you go.

Dog

Who doesn’t love dogs? They are the most demanded type of emotional support animal because of their wonderful traits. The most important one being the ability to connect emotionally with humans.

While every dog makes a great ESA, there some breeds known to provide extra comfort and companionship. Some of these include Labrador retriever, Golden retriever, Beagles and German shepherd.

What Animals are Best for Emotional Support?

Image credits: freepik.com

Rabbit

Rabbits make great emotional support animals because they are shy and quiet most of the time. So, you won’t have to deal with noises that other pets such as dogs and cats make.

Even better, your bunny takes up little space. So, you don’t have to worry about accommodation if you have a small apartment. They don’t also need a place to roam or walk like dogs that need to exercise regularly.

Horse

Horses are wonderful pets. Horse lovers claim that they prefer them because of their long life span (of about 30 years) unlike other pets who rarely make it past 10 years. So, you develop a long-lasting bond with your horse which is critical for emotional support.

Bird

Birds are intelligent animals. In fact, some birds like parrots can replicate your speech. This trait alone is enough making them wonderful emotional support animals. Imagine talking to your parrot and it responds back in the same language.

Conclusion

Emotional support animals provide comfort to people with mental disabilities and disorders. Many types of pets make good ESAs including dogs, cats, birds, horses and rabbits. Only a licensed mental health professional can prescribe an emotional support animal to you. With an ESA certification, you get access to various legal protections such as travelling with your pet on airlines that don’t usually allow animals into their cabins.

Author: Vincent Otieno
Author Bio - Vincent