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.”


Animal Wellness is North America's top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats, with a readership of over one million every year. AW features articles by some of the most renowned experts in the pet industry, with topics ranging from diet and health related issues, to articles on training, fitness and emotional well being.