Mental health has started to really become a societal problem in 2019. Athletes, millionaires, celebrities, and other big names have come out and addressed the mental and emotional problems that many of us face on a daily basis. While some turn to therapists and medicinal supplements, many victims have decided to turn to an emotional support animal. These emotional support animals can range from the classic service dog to kangaroos and other seemingly crazy creatures.
The purpose of this article is to educate you on the top ten support animals that we would recommend. The most important thing to remember is that a specific animal that is good for one person might not be good for someone else. If you are trying to select the animal that you want for your life, be sure to take into account your personality, the mental or emotional struggle you are having, and which animal will help you most.
This top ten list doesn’t mean that the number one animal is the best one you can select. Rather it is ten different animals in no specific order. Again, the best animal depends on the kind of person that you are, and what you actually want to do with the creature.
The Faithful Classic Canine
The dog is probably the most well-known of support animals. The dog is known as “man’s best friend” so there is no surprise that it is the first one on our list. It was the first one that came to my mind when I thought about service animals. Dogs are great emotional support animals and really provide companionship and mental stability to their owners.
They can also be taught a variety of tasks that helps their handler with daily tasks that might seem mundane. But these tasks can raise the quality of life for the individual. An emotional support dog is a great option because of the ease of getting them. There are many different companies that provide trained dogs. Dogs are also allowed in more places than some of the other service animals on our list.
There are various types of service dogs already. They are used by the military in wartime, by police officers, by people with seeing or hearing disabilities, and people who have significant emotional stress. Dogs are cheerful and happy. Their ability to provide their owners with a great companion is an incredible ability that is second to none.
Honestly, the dog is a great option, and I don’t really see an animal that outperforms this one. However, make sure that the dog has a positive personality. Find a dog that you feel a connection with, and go with that one.
What About a Feline?
The cat is a pretty popular animal but not necessarily one that you might picture as a service animal, but they can still get the job done. Again, a service animal needs to connect with you on a deep basis. If you have a love for cats, this might be the one for you. Cats might not have nine lives but they can do really good things for your emotional well-being. Consider looking into various companies to see if they can provide you with a service cat. But if you don’t think this service animal is right for you, I have eight more on the list.
Life’s Not “All I Want for Christmas”
If you have ever seen the movie “All I Want for Christmas” you might laugh when you think of mice as an emotional support animal. In the movie the white mice wreak havoc on the family. But outside of the big screen, mice have actually been documented as very helpful in the emotional sphere.
One of the reasons that these creatures are growing in popularity as support animals is that they can be easily trained. Mice are very intelligent, but some psychologists recommend getting two of them to keep you company. Either way, if mice work for you, they can be incredible for your emotional well being. They are also cheaper than other options as well.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Hedgehogs are cute little animals that are easy to take places and fun to play with. One problem that you might run into is transportation. Some planes and other public areas do not recognize hedgehogs as support animals. You have to make sure that wherever you go they are allowed to come.
They can be a bit dangerous because they are a little prickly, but you can still utilize them as emotional support animals. This might be the best option for you, so be sure to take it into consideration.
What About a Cute Ferret
Ferrets are some of the cutest animals imaginable and many people have turned to them as emotional support animals. You have to make sure that you can take them places as well because they aren’t the most common emotional support animals either. Ferrets need to be properly registered as well.
Especially if you are traveling. All service animals must be documented. So be sure to take the correct steps and get your service animal certified. Ferrets are lovable animals and really have the personality to make a great support animal. This is one you can’t go wrong with.
A Talking Parrot
You don’t have to be a pirate to own a good old parrot. These animals are cool because they talk back to you. If you want an emotional support animal that keeps you company and also converses with itself, the parrot might be the way to go. There is even a company called Parrots for Patriots that works to supply parrots with former veterans of the United States military.
Parrots are interactive. That is the big bonus with them as a support animal. If you are looking for this quality in a service animal then the parrot might be the best option for you. Parrots aren’t crazy expensive, and their upkeep is even cheaper.
The best monkey that we recommend for service and companionship is the capuchin. It really helps out because it is very good at accomplishing tasks for its handler. The capuchin is high functioning and outgoing. Having similar human qualities, it can be one of the top service animals recommended by psychologists.
If this animal interests you, there is a company called “Helping Hands Monkey Handlers” that provides service capuchins with a handler. It is totally worth looking into if you feel like a capuchin would be the right animal for you. Be sure to take its pros into consideration as you get more and more info about the kind of service animal that would best suit you.
The Hamster Wheel
Hamsters aren’t just pets that entertain teenagers. They are extremely lovable creatures that can be great emotional support animals.
There isn’t much upkeep for hamsters, so it is definitely a cost-friendly option. Not all companies, travel agencies, and public spaces will allow hamsters as pets, so it is important that you make sure you know where you are taking your animal. Hamsters aren’t big so it can be easy to lose them as well. Make sure you keep good care of them and enjoy their company. You won’t go wrong with a hamster as a support animal.
Have You Considered Bugs Bunny?
“What’s up doc?” Unfortunately, the rabbits that you can get as an emotional support animal won’t be battling Daffy Duck or having a conversation with you, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great support animals. Rabbits are fluffy, cute, and possess a reserved kind of energy. Many people have been using them as various types of emotional support animals for a while now. They are calm most all the time which is great in crowded public spaces. The best part about bunny rabbits is their cute little eyes. If you stare into the eyes of a rabbit it might be impossible to go with a different animal at all.
Maybe a Guinea Pig
Guinea pigs are gaining popularity as emotional support animals due to a recent lawsuit in 2013. A Grand Valley State Student won an appeal against the university that granted her the right to keep her guinea pig. These animals don’t take up your space and require a very low budget to support. Much like the rabbit and mouse, they are cute little animals that can supply just the right type of emotional support that you need.
What Do I Need For a Support Animal?
This is a great question. If you just take a dog, for instance, it is going to cost you about $1,200 dollars for the first year you own a dog. This statistic is taken from a survey done by the SPCA. You have to think about things like spaying and neutering, training, and medical expenses that might not come to your mind right away when you want to purchase a dog.
Then, of course, you have to provide it with food, and treats. You also need to give it good attention on a daily basis. Many people enjoy this part of the process because walking the dog or taking it to the beach is definitely an enjoyable time, but you can’t overlook this process. Dogs require time, and an emotional support animal should never be neglected by the owner. It is important that you take a second to calculate exactly how much time and money you have before considering an emotional support animal. Your mental health won’t improve if you get an emotional support animal and then never spend time with it.
Which One Should I Choose?
Reading through the different types of animals might leave you at a crossroads. All of them seem like valid options for a support animal. So which one should you choose? You can think through the following questions to help decide which animal would be right for you.
- What is my budget like? Can I purchase the animal in the first place? Can I support the animal after I have purchased it? This will include food and veterinarian expenses.
- Do I have space for the animal? Can I provide it a calm and safe home? Will it be allowed to stay with me? (landlord, university dorm, etc.)
- What’s my personality like? Do I want something more energetic or a creature that is always calm?
- Do I already have a favorite animal? If so what is it? Can it become a support animal?
- If I need it to be able to do simple tasks, what tasks do I need, and what type of animal can accomplish those tasks?
- Will my service animal be able to go with me places? Do I need to register it anywhere?
Those are all valid questions that can help you narrow down exactly which kind of emotional support animals are best for you. At the end of the day, you might just want to pick your favorite and work out the details. The most important aspect of an emotional support animal is that it provides you with companionship and cheers you up. There are many animals that can accomplish this, so consider each one before making a final decision.