People usually adopt dogs to help them provide companionship. But, there are many benefits of living with a dog. Science says that dogs have ultimate mood-boosting power & can manage various mental health problems. Thus, more therapists suggest ESAs as a part of anxiety or depression treatment. In fact, there are federal laws for preventing discrimination against pet owners in housing.
So, how having emotional support can help you promote a healthy lifestyle? Let’s learn.
Increases Physical Activity
Dogs need regular exercise, which helps them with mental stimulation and keeps them active. Moreover, it reduces the risks of obesity in them.
Taking dogs on long walks and playing games with them actually increases activity levels of their owners.
As per CDC guidelines, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. Dog owners are more likely to meet this goal.
In fact, people love spending time with their dogs outdoors. In addition to walking and running, there’s a wide range of activities an emotional support dog and its owner can enjoy together. These include swimming, hiking, paddle-boarding, etc.
Needless to say that regular exercise is linked to improved overall health. However, dog owners live longer than people who don’t own dogs.
Helps You Lose Weight
There’s no doubt more physical activity burns more calories, thus helping you shedding extra pounds. Research says that daily dog walks can help individuals lose weight as they help them with moderate physical activity everyday.
According to a small study published in 2010, public housing residents who walked dogs for 20 minutes five times a week lost an average of 14.4 pounds in 12 months.
With your emotional support dog alongside, you can set your own weight loss goals. Knowing regular exercise is necessary for your dog, you are likely to take your pet for walks, outdoor activities, etc., and get health benefits.
In addition to regular exercise with your pet, we advise you to follow the weight loss tips, such as-
- Drinking more water
- Avoiding foods rich in sugar
- Getting a good night’s sleep
- Eating more whole foods
Reduces Stress & Anxiety
Stress & anxiety are common mental illnesses, affecting millions of Americans. In fact, these medical conditions are linked to other health issues, such as insomnia, pain, headache, erectile dysfunction, etc.
Dogs provide ultimate emotional support, boost your mood, make you laugh, thus reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. They provide love and comfort to help you deal with stressful situations.
In fact, an emotional support dog gives you valuable companionship, thus reducing the feelings of loneliness. Research says that people perform stressful tasks better when with dogs.
Moreover, dogs provide you reasons to exercise. Science says that exercise releases endorphins (the natural mood elevators) and reduces the body’s stress hormones, such as cortisol.
Boosts Your Heart Heart Health
Living with your emotional support dog can help you reduce risks of heart attacks. Studies show that pet companionship is associated with reduced triglyceride levels, cholesterol, and lower blood pressure levels. Moreover, pet owners who do have heart attacks are more likely to survive than non-owners.
According to Harvard Medical School, studies show that individuals with pets experience less cardiovascular reactivity during stressful situations. This is because their heart rate and blood pressure levels go up less & become normal quickly.
As mentioned above, dogs provide calming effects, reduce stress and boost overall mental health. This can help you improve heart health.
Improves Your Social Life
Staying engaged with others is a key to a healthy mind. And, dog owners are more likely to interact with others. Visiting a dog park allows you to interact with people who share the same interests as you, thus improving your social life. Some studies have found that people who own dogs tend to be a little more extroverted.
Pet owners have strong social support networks. In fact, when walking with your emotional support dog, you are likely to get stopped and talked by people.
According to a survey by researchers at the University of Western Australia, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition, pets can improve human-human friendships. They reported that the most common ways to meet people in the neighborhood were—being a neighbor, going to a local park and being a dog owner.
Structures Your Life
Consistency is often difficult when it comes to developing healthy habits. People usually set specific goals, work great for a few days, and then return to their old habits. But, this doesn’t happen with dog owners. Living with a pet is a kind of commitment, which provides consistency and structures your life.
Dogs have a routine, which needs to be strictly followed. They need regular exercise to stay active, food for energy and sleep for relaxation. There’s no doubt that having a consistent schedule can help dog owners promote overall wellness.
Registering Your Dog as an Emotional Support Dog
Emotional support dogs aren’t normal dogs. They enjoy certain benefits, such as reasonable accommodation in housing with a “no-pet” policy and access to public places where normal pets aren’t allowed.
If you want to live with your dog in an apartment, you need to get an emotional support dog letter from a licensed mental health professional.
At My ESA Doctor, we allow people to apply for their emotional support dog letters in just 10 minutes. Here’s the process-
- Sign up for an account online
- See a licensed therapist via HIPAA-compliant software
- If approved, receive your emotional support dog letter in PDF format via email
Having an emotional support dog at home can help you promote a healthy lifestyle. Taking your pet for long walks, playing fun games with it, etc. automatically structure your life and develop healthy habits.
Studies show that pets can help relieve stress and anxiety by providing love, comfort and companionship. Petting a dog increases dopamine and oxytocin levels—the neurotransmitters associated with positive feelings.
To live with your dog in a rental property under the FHA, get an emotional support dog letter from a licensed mental health professional.