The Best Dogs for Anxiety

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Best Dogs For AnxietyDid you know that some of the most popular dog breeds are excellent companions to have during panic attacks? According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals and emotional support animals include guide dogs, psychiatric service dogs, seizure response dogs, and more. However, the same canines are also high anxiety dog breeds, which can make picking the best pup for your needs confusing. 

In this article, we discuss the best dogs for anxiety and how they can help people suffering from mental health conditions.  

How Dogs Reduce Anxiety in Humans

Before we talk about the best dog breeds that can help reduce anxiety, it’s best to get an understanding of how dogs do this in the first place. According to a study published in Frontiers of Psychology in 2012, human and animal interactions may activate the body’s oxytocin system. This helps to regulate our social bonds and is the reason why a mother becomes filled with joy at the sight of their baby — it’s also the reason why a loving look from your pooch gives you warm feelings. 

However, producing these hormones isn’t just the reason why dogs can help to reduce anxiety, they can also make us feel better in other ways which include the following.  

  • It Makes Us Feel Good: Physical contact also helps to ease anxiety for both humans and their dogs. There are specific dog breeds that are highly effective in this and will tend to be constantly physical with their human.  
  • They Give Unconditional Love: Unlike humans, dogs (and any other animal for that matter) are incapable of judging us and will faithfully remain by your side no matter what. Whether you confess your deepest secrets or behave in ways you never would with other humans, you’re completely free to do you in front of your pooch. 
  • Gives a Sense of Security: Some dogs can make their owners feel safe (which reduces their level of anxiety), either through the dog’s ability to bark at strangers or through their intimidating appearance. 

While dogs can’t weave magic and make anxiety and stress disappear, dogs can give us significant emotional benefits. Some studies have also found that dogs can work just as well as conventional pain and stress-management techniques. 

The Best Dogs for Anxiety 

If you’re looking for a great companion that can help lower your blood pressure, regulate heart rates, and answer your specific needs, then you’ll find the perfect choice below. 

Golden Retrievers

Golden RetrieverAccording to the American Kennel Club, these dogs are among the most popular companion dogs in the United States, thanks to their compliant, compatible, and calm temperament. Even with little training, they will often pass the Canine Good Citizen Test — they come with low barking levels, and will only do so to warn their owners. These dogs originally came from the United Kingdom, England, and Scotland, where they are known for their sweetness and friendliness.

Because of their great personalities, they are now one of the most common dogs in the country, and their intelligence makes them the perfect companion animals for adults, kids, and seniors. They’re also quick to adapt to new surroundings which makes them the best choice for people that need to move around quite a bit. These dogs are both loving and playful, always willing to give a helping hand, which makes them popular with kids.    

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador RetrieverVery few dogs are as loving as the Labrador, and even fewer can be as gentle which is why they’re well-suited for a wide range of jobs. They’re great therapy dogs and are particularly terrific with children, handicapped individuals, elderly people, and even strangers. While these dogs will drool a lot, they’re generally quiet and won’t bark without a reason, which makes them one of the top dog breeds for service work. 

They first originated in the 1500s, in Newfoundland, Canada, and then migrated to Britain by the 1800s — they have since become one of the most popular breeds in the U.S. Their calm nature allows pet owners to get along with these affectionate dogs easily, while their playful nature quickly makes them a man’s best friend. Moreover, they are highly intelligent dogs that can understand and read human emotions, making them a great choice for people with emotional distress.  

German Shepherd

German ShepherdAs its name suggests, these pups come from Germany and were bred to do work on farms where they would protect sheep from predators. After the First World War, they gained popularity as the perfect companion — their reserved yet loving temperament makes them very approachable. However, many people will often be scared of them due to their large sizes, but due to their background as working dogs, they are highly obedient creatures. 

This trait makes them easy to train and they come with a high energy level that makes them perfect for pet parents with active lifestyles. In addition, German Shepherds are able to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, offering a constant source of support and companionship. 

Bichon Frise

Bichon FriseIf you’re looking for a lot of love, these small dogs can get the job done — these happy-go-lucky pups are some of the friendliest dogs in the world and will greet everyone with a big smile. But even with their big puppy eyes and wagging tail, they’d rather be with their favorite humans. These dogs are smart and easy to train, so they won’t cause you any problems but they will need a lot of grooming to keep their fur maintained. 

As such, you may need to set aside some money for trips to a professional groomer but the best part is that they don’t shed much, making them a great choice for allergy sufferers too. Thankfully, they don’t yap much which is rare in dogs of a small size and they don’t drool a lot either, so they’re a great option for people looking into low-maintance dogs. Their charming and cheerful make them well-liked by kids as well as other animals.   

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles SpanielFirst bred to be lap dogs, Cavalier King Charles spaniels love nothing more than to cuddle and relax with their pet parents all day and are an excellent choice for owners who want calm and consistent pets. However, they are also energetic dogs that are reminiscent of their bird-hunting ancestors. Because they’re so smart and easy to train, they can be great pets for first-time dog owners and they won’t find another dog or person that they won’t like. 

Furthermore, these dogs won’t need a lot of grooming to keep their gorgeous coats from looking great. These fantastic service dogs won’t just provide physical assistance but can also give emotional support to their owners. The empathetic and affectionate nature of these pups helps them become wonderful therapy dogs.       

Great Danes

Great DaneThese calm and confident dogs are often referred to as gentle giants so be sure that you’re ready to care for big dogs if you want one of these in your family. Most of these dogs will stand close to 3 feet at the shoulders but if you’re undaunted by their size, you’ll find that they have personality traits you won’t find in others. While they may look stiff and intimidating at first, they’re actually fun and loving dogs that can help individuals with anxiety disorder. 

Great Danes are also extremely friendly and well-mannered, so as long as you treat them right, they will reciprocate your kindness with love and warmth which will improve your mental health.    

Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire TerrierOften called Yorkies, these dogs tend to develop strong bonds with their owners and are at their best when they shower their favorite person with love and affection. Despite their small stature, they come with a rough and playful personality that has been described as “tomboyish.” Despite being a smaller dog, Yorkshire Terriers are highly adventurous and will often jump in excitement around their owners. 

Apart from having lots of energy, these dogs are also loving and perky, plus their bubbly attitude makes them terrific companions. However, they can have a naughty streak at times and will need your attention to help them stay in line.      

Border Collies

Border CollieThese dogs come with exceptional trainability and intelligence, which is why they’re highly regarded as the smartest dog breed. They have the ability to learn new tricks quickly; as such, they are also among the best breeds for herding and can become great service dogs. Border Collies come with a keen sense when it comes to human emotions and are attuned to our feelings, which allows them to provide us with support, comfort, and a sense of security. 

Moreover, they can form strong, lifelong bonds with their families and their unwavering loyalty offers companionship that enhances our overall wellbeing and quality of life. 

Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh CorgiThis pooch is among the most affectionate and devoted dogs that anyone could ever ask for, and is often used as a therapy dog. The Pembroke Welsh Corgi is incredibly friendly with people but they can be picky when it comes to other dogs. They are smart and easy to train so they can perform daily tasks with ease but they’re too active to be left with homebodies living inside a small apartment. 

While they only weigh around 30 pounds, they’re not small enough to fit in carry bags or sit on your lap the way a Yorkie or a Pomeranian does. Even so, they can be incredible therapy dogs thanks to their friendly nature.

Bernese Mountain Dog 

Bernese Mountain DogThe affectionate and good-natured Bernese Mountain Dog comes with a friendly and placid personality. They can easily get along with the whole family but will usually become attached to their favorite person which they will make their best friend for life. Their gentle nature, when combined with their ability to give unconditional love makes them a wonderful companion to have for those seeking solace and comfort. 

Their willingness to provide warmth and comfort promotes our well-being, while their ability to empathize with humans makes them highly perceptive to our emotions. Just being in their presence alone can help to alleviate our anxiety, stress, as well as symptoms of depression. 

Cocker Spaniels

Cocker SpanielKnown for their affectionate and friendly nature, English Cocker Spaniels are great support animals that carry a calm temperament which also makes them good companions. As pets, they also offer the benefits of service dogs, such as reducing anxiety, improving our emotional well-being, providing comfort, and more. They come with a happy nature that can help to calm people, especially those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. 

Great Pyrenees

Great PyreneesKnown for their calm, smart, and patient demeanor, the Great Pyrenees is an affectionate dog that can help to reduce anxiety. However, they are big dogs that can weigh as much as 100 pounds, so be sure that you have enough space for them. While they come with low drool levels, they tend to bark a lot so they’re not the best choice for people who don’t appreciate noise. 

Originally from France, they are renowned for their gentle nature and devoted natures — they are always ready and willing to help their owners which makes them great emotional support animals. These intelligent dogs will need puzzles and toys to keep them busy but even if you have kids at home, you can be sure these dogs won’t harm them. 

Jack Russell Terrier

Jack Russell TerrierThe Jack Russell Terrier is a compact and energetic dog that comes with large expressive eyes and short fur that only needs basic grooming. They’re small enough to fit in apartments and their energy is enough to lighten the mood of their owners. These pups can form deep bonds with their favorite human, and come with unwavering loyalty for their owners. 

This strong connection is a crucial part of developing a relationship between the service animal and its owner, while their versatility helps them in all kinds of service jobs. 

Saint Bernard

Saint BernardThanks to a wide range of cartoons, we all know that Saint Bernards drool a lot — these canines originate from Switzerland and Italy, where they are often used as rescue dogs. They are calm, caring, and loving dogs that will get along well with children, and they love pleasing their owners. These dogs will try hard to live up to your expectations and their obedient nature means that they can be left alone with children. 

Because they’re such calm dogs, they don’t bark a lot and will get along well with other dogs and kids — they will also behave well in public places. 

FAQs on the Best Dogs for Anxiety 

You probably have a few questions regarding getting an anxiety service dog, but you don’t need a veterinary behaviorist to get the answers you need.  

What’s the Best Dog for People with Anxiety? 

All in all, you need to consider your own preferences and personality to find the right dog to help with your anxiety. It’s also best to think about whether or not you can provide for the dog’s needs and the kind of support you need from your dog before you make a choice. Some breeds, including the options given above, are the most common options, but your choice should be based on your individual decision.  

Can Dogs Really Reduce Anxiety? 

In some cases, dogs have been able to greatly reduce a person’s anxiety but this can’t be guaranteed. In other cases, a dog can also exacerbate anxiety levels — the key to success is to find a specific breed and dog that will work well with you and your needs. 

Do Emotional Support Animals Need a Vest? 

No, they don’t need a vest or any kind of garment that identifies them as an emotional support animal. However, it will often be helpful to give your emotional support dog or animal a vest that will inform everyone around you that it’s more than a pet in your home. 

Can Emotional Support Animals Go Anywhere You Go? 

Unfortunately, our furry friends won’t have access to every establishment you wish to enter. While ESA are given access to more places compared to the typical pet dog, they don’t have unfettered access to public areas in the same way that a service dog would. 

Can Small Dogs Help with Anxiety?

Absolutely! Small dogs can be just as helpful for owners with anxiety as medium and even large-size dogs. However, it will depend on what you’re looking for when it comes to the perfect canine companion. 

Conclusion 

Above are some of the best choices for emotional support dogs that can help you and your loved ones get the help you need to manage this condition. Be sure to choose a dog that will suit your needs and lifestyle, because adding a dog to the family is a lifelong commitment that you will need to carefully consider. But no matter which pooch you choose, you can be sure to get the love, affection, and attention you need whenever anxiety creeps in while helping to improve your mindset. 

 

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