The Five Best Pets for Easing Anxiety

Woman touches foreheads with golden retrieverAnxiety can be debilitating, holding you back from activities, careers, friendships, or other opportunities. Traditional methods of managing anxiety typically include therapy and medication. While these are great options that can help a lot, they may not be easily accessible to everyone.

Believe it or not, owning a pet can help people cope with and reduce anxiety symptoms. Not all pets will be accessible to everyone, as some pets can be expensive to purchase and care for (like dogs), but just about any pet can have a positive effect on mental health, even fish.

Therefore, those who are interested in having an animal companion can choose one within their means and enjoy the comfort this animal brings them. In this article, we’ll share the five best pets for anxiety and include information about how each pet can help as well as their care requirements.

How Pets Can Help With Anxiety

Anyone who owns a pet will probably have something to say about how that pet is able to help them with their mental health. On top of the multitude of anecdotal evidence from pet owners, scientists have been studying how pets can affect mental health, and the results are promising.

In fact, there are too many studies to list, so instead, we will share some of the most pertinent information gleaned from them in regards to how pets can help with anxiety and mental illness.

Interacting with pets can lower cortisol levels as well as blood pressure. Cortisol is a stress hormone, which means petting an animal can literally reduce stress. Similarly, pet owners were found to have lower resting heart rates and lower blood pressure compared to people who don’t have pets.

Other benefits to having pets include increased activity and a more structured schedule. Exercise in itself is good for reducing anxiety and boosting one’s mental health. Additionally, having a schedule can help people feel like they have more control of their life and are more productive, which can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Sometimes, pets are the very reason someone is able to get out of bed in the morning, even when they’re feeling their worst. If one is feeling terrible mentally, pets can offer friendship and support unconditionally. This, in turn, reduces feelings of loneliness.

As you can see, pets can be incredibly beneficial to people who struggle with anxiety or other mental health issues. What we’ve discussed here is just the tip of the iceberg.

Golden retriever and grey cat lay in owner’s lap

What Is an ESA and Should You Get One?

People struggling with anxiety disorders may be eligible for an emotional support animal (ESA). This is essentially an animal that is prescribed to you by a mental health professional as a treatment for your mental health disorder.

Emotional support animals can be pretty much any type of animal, even a pet that you already own. Though many people are fine with just having pets and never ask their doctor to designate their pet as an ESA, there are some advantages to doing so.

The biggest advantage has to do with housing. Emotional support animals are allowed to live with you, even in apartments or rentals that do not typically allow pets. Landlords may require a letter from your doctor but otherwise have to allow you to live with the animal since it is considered part of the treatment for your mental illness.

For many people in stable living conditions where animals are allowed, designating their pet as an ESA may not be necessary. However, an ESA could be a good option for those who could benefit from a pet but live somewhere where pets aren’t allowed. Furthermore, ESAs are exempt from pet fees in apartments and rentals.

The Best Pets for Anxiety

Now that you understand how pets can help with anxiety as well as the benefits of getting an emotional support animal, it’s time to talk about some of the best pets for anxiety. Remember that owning a pet is also a responsibility and a commitment.

You should be certain that the type of animal you’re interested in suits your lifestyle. We’ll be sure to share information about how to care for each pet so you’ll know what it might be like.



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