Dogs really are man’s best friend. They keep us company as they cuddle with us while we are watching TV or just hanging out around the house. They help us spend more time outside and get fresh air. We also love taking care of our “fur babies” and being a caregiver to them.
Dogs are pros at being supportive. Your dog just knows when you’ve had a hard day, and they are there to help comfort you with a supportive lick and nuzzle. They bring joy and happiness no matter what the occasion. Dogs are also amazing emotional support animals for people who suffer from anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Emotional Support Dogs vs. Therapy Dogs vs. Service Dogs
Emotional support dogs are different from other categories of dogs that help us out.
What Are Service Dogs?
Service dogs are dogs that have special training to perform at least two specific tasks to help people with disabilities. A well-known example of this type of dog is Guide Dogs for the Blind, but there are many things service dogs can do, including working as psychiatric service dogs to support those with mental health issues.
They can alert to rising or dropping blood pressure or alter their handler oncoming seizures. Service dogs are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act and are allowed in most public places, including air travel (zoos often being a notable exception).
Any dog can be a service dog — from Chihuahua to Collie to Labrador Retriever. All of these doggies and more can be our heroes!
What Are Therapy Dogs?
Therapy dogs are trained dogs that visit locations like schools, libraries, hospitals, or nursing homes. They aren’t protected by the ADA or Fair Housing Act like service dogs and can’t go everywhere as service dogs do. These dog heroes bring joy to everyone they visit.
What Are Emotional Support Dogs?
Emotional support dogs (ESA dogs) are there to help people with an emotional or mental health condition that has been diagnosed as a disability. Emotional support dogs are not specifically trained to handle certain emotions that their human may be experiencing. As such, they are in a different classification than service dogs.
Many people are able to live fuller and happier lives with their emotional support dogs. They offer companionship as well as support for those tough moments.
Emotional support dogs can help to lower feelings of anxiety, loneliness, and stress. When taking your emotional support dog out of the house, they can help bring needed social interaction with other people.
We for one know how fuller our lives feel with our pups. We may be biased, but we really think dogs are just the best.
Emotional Support Dog Breeds
As we know, each dog breed brings something special in regards to their personality and temperaments. Corgis are great at herding cows and sheep, and Leonbergers are great working dogs for search and rescue teams.
When it comes to emotional support dogs, there are various affectionate dog breeds that fit the bill of a calming and affectionate pup. Of course, any dog you have an emotional connection to can be an emotional support dog.
Emotional support dogs should be easily trainable. If you take your dog out in public, they should be able to follow commands with ease. Likewise, they should be socialized to comfortably be around other people and other animals, even when there is a lot of excitement going on.
Intelligence and emotional capacity are also important traits to look for in an emotional service dog. Easiness of training is important, but the ability to pick up on when their humans are feeling strong emotions is also important.
Forming a close bond helps the dog to know their human and what habits and signs they give off. This will help the dog know when they need to be supportive.
Let’s take a look at some of the top dog breeds for emotional support dogs.
1. Labrador Retrievers
Labradors are easy to train, thanks to being super motivated by food (can we say we are too?!). Labradors are also very friendly to people and other animals. They are affectionate, calm, and approachable.
They are a larger dog, weighing up to 70 pounds, and do need frequent exercise as they do need to watch their waistline. This is an added bonus if you are looking for a breed that will help you get out of the house.
Poodles are wonderful companions, as they are easy to train and are highly intelligent. They also have great memories and are very loyal to their humans. They have a long lifespan, which gives you plenty of time to form a bond, and for your poodle to learn about you.
They are naturally well behaved, making it easy for them to accompany you on tasks outside of the home. Poodles also come in various sizes, so you have your pick from smaller poodles to larger poodles.
If you are looking for a smaller-sized dog who can be both calm and energetic and loving and loyal, a beagle is a wonderful choice. Having a beagle buddy as your emotional support dog can help to ease any volatile emotions as they can help soothe your discomfort.
Beagles love buddying up to others and will form a wonderful bond with you. Training is vital with this breed to ensure that their strong sense of smell won’t have their nose taking over for their brain… and to keep the howling to a minimum.
4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This pint-size buddy will show you affection and loyalty. They have a warm temperament and were originally bred to be comforting companions. They love to cuddle with their human and can also match their human’s energy output.
They’ll love lazy days as much as you do, but once you’re ready to head to the park, they’ll be excited to bask in the sunshine with you. These Spaniels are easy to train and are well mannered — there’s a reason that the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was the dog of royalty.
5. Golden Retrievers
Golden’s are one of the most popular dog breeds, with good reason. They are loyal and good-natured dogs who will be supportive no matter the environment or excitement level. They are easy to train and eager to please.
With Golden Retrievers weighing in close to 70 pounds, this gentle friend will help you feel safe and secure. They can also be quite the comedian, giving you laughs when your emotions may have you feeling blue.
Pomeranians are the perfect size to sit on your lap. They love being affectionate with their humans and will be there at a moment’s notice if you need comforting. This lapdog is intelligent and does well with constant training. These little fluff balls also love to get outside for a nice walk, and they may surprise you with how spry they can be.
They are loyal and devoted to their humans and will likely want to be near you when you are at home. Pomeranians’ small size makes them portable almost anywhere.
7. Yorkshire Terrier
These tiny little terriers have huge hearts, and their affectionate nature will have you feeling all of the love. The Yorkie is easily trainable and doesn’t need much outdoor space. This is ideal for those who live in smaller homes or do not leave their home much.
Yorkshire terriers are loyal and will form a strong bond with their humans. This small dog will easily pick up on your emotions and will be there for you when you need some love and support.
Join the PAWZ Cause
Here at PAWZ, we love all dogs. Service dogs, emotional support dogs, and dogs that you consider to be family. We know that the best dog is every dog.
We also want to make a difference in the lives of dogs who do not have a warm and loving place to call home.
When we first created PAWZ, we wanted to pair our love for fashion and our love for dogs. We want to make stylish clothing that shows off our love of dogs, and also helps those precious pooches in need.
Our mission is to save all the dogs by raising awareness and money to help save dogs’ lives and find them loving homes. We donate 10% of our net profits to local and national no-kill animal shelters and animal welfare organizations, like Best Friends Animal Society.
We have clothing for all activities, from snuggling at home with your furry best friend to hitting the hiking trails. You can’t go wrong wearing one of our branded hoodies with our PAWZ paw on the front and back. Our tees are just as comfy, and we have plenty of styles to keep you covered for every holiday and occasion.
You’ll be sure to get questions and compliments whenever you wear your PAWZ gear, adding additional awareness to our cause. Feel good about helping save the dogs, and look good while doing it.
It’s simple: PAWZ keeps you stylish, and you’re helping Best Friends make our country no-kill for shelter pets.