Dogs are amazing pets to have around, but they sometimes take some serious looking after. Everything from toilet-training to walking takes effort and time with dogs, but we do it all because we love them and want them by our side. Some dogs provide more comfort than others, however; these canines are known as an emotional support dog, one type of emotional support animal (ESA for short). Emotional support animals are a progressive new therapy for people suffering from a wide range of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. They help patients by easing the symptoms of these debilitating and widespread afflictions through constant companionship.
The most popular pet in the world is a dog, and because ESAs require no specific training, it make sense that an emotional support dog is the most popular type of ESA. The idea behind ESAs is that they’re by their owner’s side at all times; the Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act make provisions for ESAs to accompany their owners in rented accommodation and on planes respectively. Patients never have to be far from their emotional support animal if they don’t want to; however, sometimes this is simply unavoidable, no matter how much you hate it. If you have a full-time job, for instance, you’ll need to leave your pet alone for large chunks of the day.
A dog with idle paws can be an absolute nightmare, so if you’re worried about leaving your emotional support dog, check out these tips on how to occupy them physically and mentally, ensuring they don’t destroy your house in the process!
1. Buy Them Lots of Toys
Nothing keeps a dog occupied like a good old-fashioned toy. Toys for pups take many forms, but there’s really no better way to keep your emotional support dog active while you’re away for the day. Dogs are simple creatures; you don’t have to be extravagant when it comes to catching their attention. A simple hollowed-out chew toy is enough to occupy most dogs, and you can buy them in your local pet shop. Try putting a toy in every room in the house, and see where they all are upon your return; chances are your canine pal will have gathered them all up and will want to show off their new collection.
2. Turn On The Television
Dogs love television just as much as humans do! One easy way to keep your ESA dog entertained throughout the day is simply to turn on the television. If it happens to be an animal program, all the better; your dog will sit mesmerized for hours at a time, watching and listening to fellow animals. This can also be a great way to stimulate your dog’s brain, as they tend to get lonely in a quiet house. A television in the background will help ease these feelings of separation anxiety.
3. Get Them Active Before You Leave
If you have the time to spare in the mornings, get active with your ESA dog before you leave! If you’re the exercising type, then you should easily be able to fit in a run or walk early in the morning before you start your day properly. Bringing your dog along with you on one of these runs is a sure fire way to get them tired out for the rest of the day. And when do dogs ever not want to go on walks or runs? They’ll always accompany you, no questions asked! Investing a comfy sleeping area can be the second part of a two-pronged approach for making your emotional support dog bed down during the day; and on the plus side, they’ll have more energy to spend time with you when you’re home!
4. Challenge Them With An Interactive Plaything
Simple toys can be effective, but if your pet happens to be of the smarter persuasion, they might require a little more to keep them stimulated. This is where an interactive toy comes in very handy. These contraptions are designed to challenge a dog, and usually provide a reward in the form of a treat if the candidate is successful in their endeavors. They take many forms, so you’re certain to find one that fits your pet’s shape and size. The treat-dispensers also have the added benefit of keeping your emotional support dog fed throughout the day, so you don’t have to worry about them going hungry.
5. Get Them a Furry Companion
Of course, the ultimate way to relive any boredom your pet might feel is to get them a companion. Either another dog or a cat usually work well (if the two can play nicely together!). You might not be in a position to do this, or simply might not have the energy to race around after one pet, let alone two – but if you can, it is a surefire way of making sure your emotional support dog doesn’t feel lonely or bored while you’re not home!