Best Dog Breeds To Battle Depression

Dogs are, indeed, man’s best friend. In the age of mental health awareness and advocacy, studies have very clearly shown that dogs can assist significantly. More research has provided that owning a dog improves blood circulation, elevates the good hormones such as serotonin and dopamine, and lowers cholesterol.

Dog owners will attest that the benefits of having a dog outweigh the cost in time and money. Dogs offer a unique degree of companionship and affection that arguably no other being, human or otherwise, can provide consistently.

In the battle for depression, along with other mental health issues, the dogs below have been tested and proven to provide the needed support for individuals by giving love, responsibility, activity, and routine. Read the following discussions on these dogs and see for yourself which dog best fits your personality.

Source: pexels.com

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Although not that big, this dog provides that much needed cuddle time that everybody yearns for. Dubbed as the love sponge and the cuddle bug, this dog has been included in top royal circles for its beauty, elegance, and easygoing personality. These dogs are naturally happy and affectionate.

Challenges that owners of this kind of dog may face are grooming and susceptibility to heart-related ailments.

Source: pexels.com

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are a staple in not only the dog industry but also the movie industry. They are your typical all-around, can-do dogs that never back out of any situation or person. They are also known to show an immense capacity to love and are very easily trainable as they are well-behaved. Aside from its loving nature, they are very active and playful.

Challenges that owners of this kind of dog may face are shedding of fur and physical exhaustion due to their need for daily activity.

Pug

Who does not love a dog that naturally looks grumpy day in and day out? Despite their somewhat fixed facial configuration, pugs are delightful, charming, and surprisingly well-mannered, on top of being one of the goofiest dogs in town.

Challenges that owners of this kind of dog may face are cardiovascular issues and lack of physical activity.

Corgi

Corgis lack in size, but they make up for in intuition and guidance. Known as the working dog, Corgis were born leaders of the pack, with a combination of intelligence, curiosity, and eagerness to learn. These dogs can read the feelings of their owner and could adapt accordingly.

Challenges that owners of this kind of dog may face are hip-related concerns and eye health issues.

Source: pexels.com

Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus, known as a meme online (and rightfully so), is cute, attentive, alert, and active. Shiba Inus are known to be aloof and independent, but are playful and possess a carefree nature. Among all dog classes, this kind of dog is arguably one of the most low-maintenance pets.

Challenges that owners of this kind of dog may face are difficulty in training and knee issues.

Do you have a pet dog that supports you in your battle against depression? Share with us your experience in the comments!…

Top Animals That Therapists Use In Their Sessions

Most people think dogs are the only service animals used by therapists. However, more and more animals are now used alongside your canine friend. 

We know that pets pose various benefits. Trained or not, they are there to show their support and bring comfort to the lives of many people. They are there to provide companionship for owners while they take necessary actions for counseling and medical emergencies. Because of the increasing demand for animal-assisted therapy, therapists have opted to add other animals to the list. 

Dogs

Dogs are the most used and popular service animals today. They are known for their ability to comfort people, bring affection, and accompany people in need in confined living situations. They are also seen in various environments such as the grocery store, the mall, or even just down the street.

Source: hurburt.af.mil

Most individuals find the desire to pet a service dog when they see one. Do not worry; it’s pretty safe to do so. But in case you are hesitant to interact with them, you may opt to look for their “I am friendly! Ask my handler if you can pet me” patches. 

There are also three types of therapy dogs: 

  • Facility Therapy Dogs – These dogs are usually stationed in nursing homes to accompany patients with Alzheimer’s disease (or any other mental disability connected to getting confused or lost). 
  • Therapeutic Visitation Dogs – Therapeutic visitation dogs are household pets who veer away from the comforts of their homes to visit nursing homes, hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities. Then, they go back to their owners after doing so. 
  • Assisted Therapy Dogs – These special dogs are there to help individuals with their physical problems. Examples include regaining motor control, addressing the motion in the limbs, and improving hand-eye coordination. 

Cats

Believe it or not, there are still people who are intimidated or terrified by dogs. Because of that, these clients decide to hire service cats instead. Most therapists would say cats are one of the hardest animals to train; but when they get the hang of it, they are capable of accomplishing a wide range of tasks that not all animals can do. 

These friendly felines are most common in nursing homes. They are seen wandering around the corridors, coming in and out of the patients’ rooms, or on the laps of the elderlies who have dementia. 

Horses

Equine therapy is the most popular type of treatment for individuals experiencing disruptive thoughts and behaviors. Taking care of a large animal, such as a horse, requires your full attention. Hence, it helps you get out of your abnormal behaviors (abuse, anger, emotional, etc.). 

Source: dod.defense.gov

Studies show that equine therapy is scientifically proven to help enhance a person’s social skills, lower blood pressure, aid in anger management problems, increase confidence, and ease impatience and anxiety. Although this practice takes a lot of effort, it will most likely be beneficial in the end. 

Small Pets

Therapists are now starting to train small pets like hamsters, little turtles, rabbits, and guinea pigs to serve as emotional support animals (ESA). Just like dogs, they offer companionship, calmness, and comfort to the patients. These small animals also provide emotional support and aid in the improvement of motor skills. 

Most patients opt to take care of these smaller pets since they are easier to maintain than their canine co-workers. 

Birds

Birds, especially parrots, make great candidates for assistive therapy. For example, parrots are known to be engaging and interactive with their owners; hence, they often keep their minds occupied. They are also proven to show high levels of empathy. 

Source: pixabay.com

Some therapists also assign abused or injured birds to their patients, so they have something to take care of. Studies say that the birds’ situations contribute to the ease of symptoms of those individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Reptiles

Reptiles are new to therapy animal occupation. London was the first country to use them to help those people struggling with substance abuse, depression, and eating disorders. What makes this approach unique is the patients always feel a sense of fulfillment and surge of confidence, since caring for reptiles is uncommon. They think that they can finally succeed in this world; hence, boosting their image about themselves. 

Trained service animals conduct special programs to address a variety of physical and mental conditions. Animals are the better choice since they quickly respond to love and affection through consistent training and exposure to people. At the same time, patients are more comfortable to be themselves around these animals instead of pouring their attention to other humans.

Service Animals Vs. Emotional Support Animals

Patients with chronic illness often feel better when they had an animal companion by their side. With that positive result, getting an animal becomes part of a treatment that is called “animal-assisted therapy” or AAT. The said therapy has a lot of different variations. It can include everything from playing to a dog, feeding a bird, or taking care of a horse. Not all that, animal therapy gets often combined with other forms of any psychology treatments beneficial to the patient depending on his overall needs. Also, AAT promotes positive, measurable effects on both patients with and without clinical conditions as well. That explains why researchers are pretty much confident with its process.

Before we jump into the whole discussion of how animals can largely contribute to one’s overall health, let’s first discuss the difference between service animals and emotional support animals. A lot of people often get confused with the purpose of the two, so we will try to elaborate on their duties and responsibilities. These include their contribution to therapy, physical aid, emotional assistance, and more.

Service Animals  

A service animal is any trained dog. Other types of animals whether trained or untrained don’t represent SAs. The dog gets to do work or perform tasks that benefit an individual with a disability. These include various cases of mental, sensory, and physical problems. Another type of service animal is called a psychiatric service dog. Its specific role is to help its owner with a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, Schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder in their everyday routine. The dog helps in alleviating its owner’s struggle. It includes the task of reminding them of taking their medication or signaling by barking to stop them from doing harmful behavior.

Emotional Support Animals

Meanwhile, an emotional support animal is often part of a therapy treatment plan. Unlike a service animal, an emotional support animal usually does not perform or do tasks. It only has to provide companionship and relieve the loneliness of a person. An emotional support animal does not need any specialized training to aid an individual with a disability. A recommendation letter from a therapist or a medical doctor is all that’s required to classify an animal as an ESA. The animal also helps in reducing anxiety, depression, and phobias. It is best recommended to those people with suicidal thoughts or those who already attempted suicide in the past.

The Benefits

It is important to talk briefly about why having an animal is beneficial to one’s health as a whole. One of the primary advantages of petting an animal is its ability to lower blood pressure levels and heart rate. That’s because it allows you to perform the physical task yourself. You can play with it, and walk and run with it too. The animal can help you boost physical awareness. And not only it gets you up and moving every day, but taking care of an animal also has mental benefits as well. It helps in the releasing of oxytocin or the relaxation hormone which is responsible for making people feel emotionally attached to others. When oxytocin gets released, the cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine levels decrease. The cortisol is a steroid hormone that often links to anxiety and stress.

By having a pet animal, it also encourages others to practice interaction. That explains why the animal also helps in addressing social anxiety issues. It can help in addressing struggles in making friends and meeting new people. The effect on emotions doesn’t only apply to animal lovers, but also to those individuals who feel neutral with having animal companions too. That’s why the secret to its success lies in the bond between humans and animals in general. It has a genuine and non-judgmental relationship that allows people to have a safe place to process emotions.

It’s no wonder why we love having pet animals so much. It can improve your mood, lower blood pressure, reduce stress and anxiety, provide comfort in terms of emotional crisis, and help you get connected with another being. The positive effects don’t just happen because the animals are cute. Instead, having them beside you says a lot more about what it means to become human. So if you are considering adopting an animal, you genuinely should go for it.…

Looking After Your Emotional Support Dog

When online therapy does not suffice to help you detach yourself from negativities, some counselors may recommend getting emotional dog support. This animal has ideally been trained to assist anyone with a physical or mental disorder and serve as their crutch, especially when they feel down. It can be a dog that’s borrowed from an organization, but your pet can go through training to become a certified emotional support animal (ESA) as well.

Top 3 Accessories For Your Emotional Support Dog

The purpose of having an emotional support dog is for you or your loved one to always have a companion through the easiest and toughest times. Therefore, whether you go to the beach or travel outside the country, it should remain by your side.

And even though their company is what most people want from them, it will not be against the law if you’re going to accessorize it a bit. Here are a few items you can shop for your emotional support dog:

Vests

The first thing you need is a vest. It should fit well around the animal’s body, for one. The fabrics should be breathable so that your dog will not be irritated when you put the vest on it. They should be easily worn as well so that it won’t take forever before you can leave the house. It will be nice to find a vest that has a ready-made ESA dog patch that can make more individuals aware of emotional support dogs. The colors used need to be reflective as well so that the car drivers on the streets will see them easily.

Leashes

Dog leashes are not necessary for trained emotional support dogs. However, it will let their owners maintain a connection to them even when they are outdoors. Most straps come in different colors, but it is typical to have them printed with the words “emotional support dog” and a single paw on both sides. They are thick as well; that’s why you do not have to worry about losing your hold on it.

Patches

You have the right to make your emotional support dog wear anything you like. Any of these clothes will be more suited to a dog patch. The materials for the patches available in some stores are rubber, metal, plastic, and fabric. All of them can easily be placed on your dog’s vest without any issue.

How To Prepare Your ESA Or Pets For Disasters

Now, people have mixed views about pet owners who dress up and care for their animals like real children. Some are merely amazed in a good way, while others cannot appreciate the significance of even bothering to spend a lot on dog fashion. However, everyone will agree that during disasters or emergencies, humans are deprived of time or ability to personally secure the needs of the animal when there are loved ones who require more attention. With this in mind, here’s how to prepare bug-out bags for your pets.

1. Purchase An Adequate Bag

Dogs, in general, are more comfortable in carrying around a saddle-like bag. Its zippered containers will fall on either side of its body, so the weight of the items will be balanced throughout. To protect the pet’s belongings, even more, you can opt to have a tight saddle pack that has many closure straps.

2. Consider The Size Of The Animal

Humans and dogs are similar, in the sense that both have a limited amount of things they can lift. If the pet is a Chihuahua or a beagle, it may be too taxing for it to carry water and snacks on their back. But if your family owns a golden retriever, a Labrador, or any dog from a larger breed, it can bring its foodstuff for sure.

3. Think Of The Emergency’s Duration

The weather and how long you foresee the calamity will go on determine what you have to put in your animal’s saddle pack. For instance, in case the weather is hot, more bottles of water should be in the bug out bag to save it from dehydration. Besides, if the dog is pregnant or has a huge built, extra food may be necessary.

Final Thoughts

Having an emotional support animal by your side is better than any drug that a doctor can offer to help you get rid of your mental health issues. Because of that, you should take care of the dog that you have so that you can be together for as long as necessary.

Good luck!…

Why A Troubled Family Member Needs An Emotional Support Dog Letter

When a family member gets diagnosed with a specific mental disorder, you readily know that they need comforting. You don’t have the be an expert in that field to understand that the condition developed because something or someone caused them to feel down. Because of that, they need more of your attention and love now than ever.

Despite how much you want to focus on your troubled loved one entirely, though, it is unrealistic to let your world stop to be on their side 24/7. You need to work; you need to socialize too. That’s the only way for you to avoid becoming the next person in the family with mental health issues.

That’s the reason why psychiatrists and psychologists typically recommend getting a dog as an emotional support animal (ESA). It will allow your family member to have a constant companion and feel emotionally stable wherever they may be. However, to ensure that the pet can travel anywhere with your loved one, you ought to secure an emotional support dog letter from the doctor.

Considering it’s the first time you hear about this thing, we can tell you the benefits of having this prescription.

Go To Places That Do Not Usually Let Animals In

The first advantage of getting an emotional support dog letter is that you can break the “No Pets Allowed” policy that some establishments have. You will typically notice that signage in restaurants or clothing stores since they want to ascertain that their customers won’t get bothered by animal noises or furs won’t be flying everywhere. Despite that, since you have a note from a medical professional that states that you cannot part with your ESA for too long, the staff members have no choice but to allow you and your pet to come inside the establishment.

Ride A Plane With The Emotional Support Dog

Something that you may never see when you travel by plane on a regular basis is an animal that is free to stay beside their owner. It is common for airlines to ask people with pets to present various documents for the latter before letting the animals go to a different section of the aircraft. Similar to restaurants, they also have this rule to make sure that the pets will not create a disturbance, especially when the other passengers look for peace and quietude.

When your family member comes with a service dog letter at the airport, though, the airline personnel understand that they need to give special consideration to the matter. The bonus is that the pet can ride the plane without you having to pay anything. That’s a win-win situation, for sure.

Have The Animal Living With You

New condominium and apartment owners are quite particular about the rules that their tenants should follow these days. Some prevent them from having more than a couple of visitors at once; others require the renters to pay extra if they want to bring specific appliances in their new place. Unfortunately, many do not accept folks who wish to live in the building with their pets as they will apparently “disturb the peace” there.

The thing is, landlords are not exempted from individuals who need to comply with what’s written in an emotional support dog letter. They cannot ask your troubled family member to pay pet deposit; they cannot turn them away for having an animal companion. As per federal laws, after all, persons who depend on ESAs for emotional stability are not supposed to get charged for living with them.

Keep The Mental Disorder A Secret

There is undoubtedly no troubled individual who wants to be questioned all the time for walking around with a service dog. Not only will it be stressful to explain the reason to everyone who asks, but it also violates their privilege to keep the mental disorder a secret. That may aggravate the symptoms of their condition, frankly speaking.

What can help your family member to avoid being in this situation is carrying an emotional support dog letter wherever they go. Once they present it to the person wanting to know why they always travel with the animal, they can no longer force your loved one to talk about the illness. Doing the opposite of that will give your relative a reason to file a case against that individual later.

To Wrap It Up

It is not rare to hear news stories about pets saving their master from physical danger. Well, the emotional support dogs are no different from those, in the sense that they can keep your loved one company and prevent them from making rash decisions out of loneliness. You can count on them to help your troubled family member to feel emotional stability once again.

In case you know someone who can use a service dog in their life too, you should not hesitate to inquire to their doctor if that can be a part of their treatment.…