April 16 is National Stress Awareness Day and a good time to talk about the role of emotional support animals.

CertaPet and The Assistance Dog Center (TARSQ) released a study on how ESA dogs can greatly improve individuals’ mental, emotional, and physical health. Emotional support animals (ESAs) are a form of assistance animal that can be prescribed by a qualified mental health professional or a general practitioner to help people who have mental or emotional disabilities.

Key findings:

  • Of the 298 participants in the survey, 285 (95.6%) expressed a desire to have another ESA dog after the death of their current dog.
  • The remaining 13 expressed they prefer a service dog over an ESA.
  • 99.29% of participants expressed that their ESA dog increased their feelings of security.
  • 97.86% of participants saw an improvement in their independence and energy.
  • ESA dogs reduced stress and improved sleeping patterns in 96.80% of participants.
  • 95% of the survey participants would like another ESA.

Licensed mental health expert Prairie Conlon LPC, NPC, & Clinical Director of CertaPet has this to say:

“This profound study demonstrates what those in the animal-assisted therapy space have long known: that having a pet can drastically increase your quality of life. ESA’s are often frowned upon by society or disregarded as pseudoscience, but this research shows how valuable they actually are.”