Best Dog Breeds for Emotional Support

Do you ever wonder why there are so many people who have their dogs with them?  And do you notice the bond the owners have with their animal? For many people, their Emotional Support Animal is their best friend, and their ESA helps them through the difficulties of daily life. 

Some people believe their dog is the solution to all the stress in their busy hectic life. The act of petting and giving love to their companion calms them and allows them to relax. Their Emotional Support Dog makes them feel happy and satisfied. Do you have such a friend? Read below to see what animals make great ESA support animals.

The ESA basically serves as assistant to the therapist, assisting them in the treatment of mental illness, anxiety issues and multiple disorders thru their calming and nurturing effect.  Not all dog breeds make good Emotional Support Animals. Some breeds do not have the ability to sense the needs and moods of their owner. An ESA must make an emotional connection with their owner. 

A dog can fill the void in your empty heart
A dog can fill the void in your empty heart

How Owning And Being Around Pets Can Improve Your Health

Owning or being around pets offers a myriad of health, wellness, and psychological benefits. 

Social Benefits of Owning a Pet

  • Increased social interaction: Walking a dog or visiting pet-friendly places can help increase social interaction and build a sense of community.
  • Enhanced responsibility: Taking care of a pet can help develop a sense of responsibility and purpose.

Psychological & Mental Benefits of Owning a Pet

  • Loyal Friends: Feeling alone or grieving a loss? Pets, with their unfading loyalty, offer a shoulder to lean on, always there when you need them.
  • Mood Boosters:: The playful nature of pets naturally elevates our mood, releasing endorphins known for their feel-good and pain-relieving effects.
  • Combatting Loneliness & Depression: The companionship of pets plays a significant role in reducing the risk of depression and mitigating feelings of social isolation.
  • Stress Alleviators: Simply being around pets can help reduce stress by promoting the release of oxytocin, a hormone celebrated for its calming properties.
  • Mental Agility for Seniors: For our grandparents, a playful dog isn’t just a pet. It’s a daily puzzle, a conversation starter, and a memory challenge all in one.                             

Physical Health Benefits of Owning a Pet

  • Increased physical activity: Dog owners walk their pets more often, which can help with weight control and  overall health.
  • Lower blood pressure: Pets can help reduce stress, which can lead to lower blood pressure.
  • Reduced risk of heart disease: Pet ownership, especially dog ownership, is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
A dog can help you get out of any bad mood fast
A dog can help you get out of any bad mood fast

Reliable Resource For Reading More About Esa

A study published in the journal Circulation from the American Heart Association found that pet ownership, particularly dog ownership, is associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease.

A 2019 study by the University of Michigan found that 55% of people aged 50 to 80 got pets for companionship. Also, 79% said their pets reduced stress, and 73% said having a pet provides a sense of purpose.

According to the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), pet owners are more likely to have better heart health, including better blood circulation and a reduced risk of stroke.

Understand Processes How Pet Improve Our Life

The characteristics and behaviors of pets interact with human physiological and

psychological processes in multifaceted ways. 

Taking care of a pet keeps your mind active, especially for older people, and their presence makes it easier to talk to other people, which makes you feel less lonely. Moreover, regular exercises like walking the dog are good for your heart, and being around pets from a young age may help your immune system fight allergies. Also, pets provide constant mental support during hard times, which helps people deal with stress and sadness.

A hunting dog will gladly die for you
A hunting dog will gladly die for you

Suggested Good Candidates For Esa

The following is a list of several well-known breeds and their suitability as an ESA.

Labrador Retriever

“Labs” are one of the most effective and best choices as an ESA.They interact with others and have almost no aggressive tendencies, making them excellent ESAs. They are trustworthy, loyal, and easily trainable. They bond with their owner quickly and are incredibly sensitive to their owner’s needs.  

These gentle creatures with training, have excellent behavior in any setting, whether it be a public place or a business. A “Lab” grows to approximately 22 to 25 inches tall, weighing 55 to 80 pounds on average with an athletic build and short coat. 

Golden Retriever

These gorgeous animals are also very kind-hearted, and mirror Labrador Retrievers in all aspects. They are loving, generous, and obedient, and super simple to train. They have been used for a variety of services from Rescue to Service Dogs. 

They love everyone around them and make you feel special. They grow to 22 to 24 inches tall and typically weigh 55 to 75 pounds with a longer haired coat.

Dogs will never leave you
Dogs will never leave you

Yorkshire Terrier

A “Yorkie” packs a punch in a little package. What they lack in size they make up for in confidence and affection. They expect lots of attention, but they give it back tenfold. 

They are easy to travel with, which is good for people who require their emotional support animal to accompany them on trips. And they tend to adapt well to change. The average size is between 10 to 12 inches in height and up to 30 pounds. 

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a smaller breed weighing in at 13-18 pounds and standing 12 to 13 inches tall. They are a beautiful animal that loves to cuddle. 

They love to learn new things and be pampered. Their long coat does require some grooming, but they are easy to train and love to please their owner.

Who Can Benefit the Most from Emotional Support Animals?

While many people can benefit, certain groups stand to gain the most:

Individuals Experiencing Mental Health Issues

The presence of a pet can act as a distraction from distressing thoughts and offer comfort during difficult times. People dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health disorders can benefit immensely from the unconditional love and support that pets offer. Breeds like Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers, in particular, are adept at sensing their owner’s emotional state and providing support.

Older Single Adults

Isolation and loneliness are common experiences for the elderly, especially those who live alone. Having a pet as a friend may be quite comforting and give you a sense of purpose in life. The structure and exercise introduced into one’s life by caring for a pet on a regular basis is beneficial to both their mental and physical health.

Dog is a symbol of loyalty
Dog is a symbol of loyalty

Children That Have Special Needs

Feeling safe, acquiring better social skills, and establishing routines are all made easier with their accepting company. Children with autism and other developmental disabilities may benefit from having a pet, especially a dog. 

People Recovering from Trauma or Loss

Pets offer a consistent and non-judgmental presence, especially valuable for those recovering from traumatic events or grieving a loss. They can act as an emotional anchor, helping individuals process their feelings and cope.

Individuals Living Alone

Those living by themselves, irrespective of age, can experience feelings of isolation. A pet offers companionship, reducing the sense of solitude and promoting overall well-being.

Busy Professionals

Contrary to popular belief, even extremely busy people can benefit from having a pet. An animal companion can force its owner to take regular pauses for play and exercise, which are good for the mind.

Breed suggestion in a nutshell

These were just a few suggestions for Emotional Support Dogs and by no means a comprehensive list.  Every animal is a beautiful creature. One cannot just choose an animal from the list based on their characteristics. 

There are so many things to take into consideration when looking for an ESA. It depends on the needs of the individual, their lifestyle, daily working hours and the bond or connection they establish with their ESA. If you presently have a pet that you believe will qualify as an ESA, it is a simple process. Visit to learn how. 

Natalie Shin
Natalie Shin

Meet Natalie Shin, a devoted veterinarian, a passionate pet lover, and an invaluable contributor to Get Your Pet Certified.
She has been an invaluable part of our team at Get Your Pet Certified, fervently writing and sharing her knowledge and experiences.