As we learn more about mental and emotional disorders, more and more people are being diagnosed with problems like depression and anxiety daily. We live in a highly demanding, highly stressful world, and it's little wonder that it seems just about everyone deals with some level of anxiety as a result. If you suffer from anxiety that significantly impacts your day-to-day life, you might consider getting an emotional support animal to help. These are the breeds we recommend for helping you cope with anxiety. If you have a support dog, remember to get an emotional dog support vest to clearly mark them as more than just a pet.
Spoiler: There's No Wrong Answer
First, let's get straight to the most important thing about choosing a dog for your anxiety. There's no single dog breed that is better than others for this task. Unlike disability service dogs, which are typically one of only a handful of different breeds, any breed of dog can be an emotional support animal. In fact, the best breed for you will depend on your unique circumstances, needs, and even the cause of your anxiety. Now that we've given away the ending let's get into more details about choosing the right dog for your anxiety.
Temperament Matters Most
If you don't already have a dog, the first thing you need to consider is the general temperament of the breed you're considering for your ESA. This is a dog that you need to be able to rely on for love and support when you're feeling at your worst. This means you want a breed that is generally calm, friendly, affectionate, and loyal. While any dog can have these traits, regardless of their breed, some breeds do tend to have calmer and more affectionate temperaments than others, so do a little research before selecting a dog as your ESA.
Additionally, consider the energy levels of this breed. Is this a dog breed that tends to bark a lot or constantly want to run and play? Then it may not be the best breed for you. After all, you don't want your dog to be wriggling away from you the moment you need a soothing cuddle.
The Right Size
This is one of those factors that will vary from one person to another. Small dogs work well as ESAs because they're much easier to bring with you. They can fit into a bag or purse or easily be carried with you when traveling. This is much more difficult to do with a large dog.
However, if your anxiety is best soothed by full-body contact and calming pressure (you may currently rely on a weighted blanket to help you relax), then a large dog might work better for your needs. They can lay down with you and give you that reassuring presence your anxiety needs.
The Root of Your Anxiety
You should also work with a mental health professional to determine the root of your anxiety, as well as any associated triggers, as these may factor into the breed you select as your ESA. For example, is your anxiety connected to concerns for your personal safety? Then you might be more soothed by a large breed that you feel can protect you from potential threats. Is your anxiety often triggered by loud or repetitive sounds? Then you'll want a dog breed that tends to be quieter; these include both large and small breeds, from pugs to Saint Bernards, so you can feed a dog that is quiet and fits your preferences for size as well.
Choosing a dog as an ESA can be much more complicated than simply picking a pet. But once you find the best support animal, you'll discover just how much of a difference they can make in your life. And don't forget to purchase an emotional support dog kit so that your canine partner has everything they need to perform their job as your ESA.