An emotional support animal or an ESA can be an incredible addition to your life. They bring love, comfort, and companionship in your darkest moments. At the same time, your ESA is a living, breathing being and as such, needs to be taken care of properly. If this is something you are interested in learning about, here are the top seven tips to help you out:
1. Have a Backup Plan
There are some mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety that can make it virtually impossible for you to leave your home. Sometimes it is worse – you may not even be able to get out of bed. Now, when you only have yourself to take care of, you may have the luxury of not moving from that spot.
However, when you have an emotional support animal counting on you, there are numerous responsibilities awaiting you. In some instances, just knowing that there is a furry friend counting on you can be enough to make you snap out of an episode. If this isn’t something you can do, however, it is important to make other arrangements.
Make a plan with a friend, partner, or neighbor for those days when you are unable to function as normal. Send them a text so that they can come over and feed, refresh the water bowl, and clean up after your pup. This way, you can be certain that all your dog’s needs are being met.
2. Know Your Pet’s Rights
There are some instances when you simply need to have your ESA with you. This includes when you are moving into a new home as well as when you are flying on an airline. Now, the good news is that the law is on your side here.
For instance, the Fair Housing Act virtually guarantees that your pet should be allowed to live with you as long as you prove that they have a purpose. Of course, since it is possible that you will experience some pushback when trying to find a new home or book a flight, you should look for an easier option.
In particular, you should consider getting a proper license for your ESA. To understand more about what this entails, you can check out https://usserviceanimals.org/support/faq. However, getting such accreditation can make it a lot simpler for you to take your dog wherever you are going.
3. Make Food Choices Wisely
As you are aware, nutrition is one of the most basic yet fundamental parts of your dog’s health. Thus, it is important that you are careful about the kind of food you pick for your pooch. Keep in mind, just because a pet food brand is popular, that doesn’t mean it will be nutritious for your furry friend.
So, make it a point to do some research and read plenty of reviews before settling down on a particular brand. Even then, your work isn’t really done. Since it is possible for dogs to have food allergies, you need to keep an eye on how well they are responding to a particular brand.
If you notice that your pup is experiencing tummy trouble, hives, itching, or fur falling out, you may suspect an allergy. It is a good idea to have a vet check them out so you can pinpoint the source more easily. At any rate, it will be time to change their food.
4. Focus on Preventative Care
Whenever possible, exercise preventative care with your pooch. This can prevent them from getting sick and allow you to save on vet bills as well. Of course, taking care of their basic health is key to ensuring that your pup doesn’t fall prey to illness.
Another useful tactic is to stay on top of your vet visits. This includes getting vaccinations and other preventative medications as necessary. When you do this, you drastically reduce the risk of your pup developing something severe. Not to mention, with regular vet visits, your vet will be able to notice troubling signs and intervene before they become more serious issues.
5. Daily Exercise is a Must
All emotional support animals need exercise unless they are fish, birds, or other animals that are used to being in enclosed areas. Otherwise, even cats need plenty of activity to keep them in good spirits and healthy. However, it is dogs that need the most amount of exercise.
As mentioned, dogs are often a good reminder for you to leave your house and get some fresh air as well. This can greatly help with symptoms of depression and other mental health issues. If you are having trouble leaving the house, though, make sure that someone else can take them out and allow them to stretch their legs.
6. Love and Attention is Essential
When you are dealing with emotional and mental health problems, it can be difficult to get a handle on your own emotions. Nevertheless, make sure that your pooch always knows that you love him or her. So, make it a point to talk to them, interact with them, and give them lots of cuddles. Avoid losing your temper with them or doing anything to scare them.
7. Be Aware of Your Pet’s Issues
Finally, you should be aware that even the most even-tempered pooch is going to have some hang-ups of his own. They may be afraid of thunder and fireworks or be incredibly put-off by bicycles. Whatever it is, make sure that you comfort them whenever they are faced with their triggers. After all, they do the same for you.
These are the top tips to follow when caring for ESAs. With these guidelines, you should be able to keep your dog or other pet healthy, happy, and well-loved at all times.