While an emotional support animal isn't usually as extensively trained as a service animal, nor are they typically allowed to go everywhere with you, they nonetheless provide amazing and unconditional support. Of course, you want to care for your emotional support dog just as much as he cares for you. Take the following into consideration as you plan for your future together.
Make Sure They Have Access To Exercise
Dogs, even little ones like Chihuahuas and Yorkies, need plenty of regular exercise to remain healthy. If you are able, walk the dog a few times a day and let him run free somewhere safe and free from traffic. If you can't get around so fluidly, ask a friend or neighbor to take the animal on walks and runs. For the most part, walking throughout the day to relieve themselves, along with at least 30 minutes of fun play and exercise should suffice. If there's no one to regularly exercise your dog, try fencing an area of your yard in, so there's a place to work off all that energy and burn a few calories.
Get Them Regular Vet Checkups
Your emotional support dog should have an annual checkup, get all recommended vaccinations and may also need teeth cleaning. All of this is part of healthy maintenance and prevention, but if you have trouble getting to the vet, give them a call; they may be able to make a special house call or otherwise arrange for transport of the animal to their clinic. While this isn't typical of your average veterinary business, there should be some way of accessing the health care your dog needs, be it through the vet directly or some other supportive program. If finances are an issue, put a call in to an organization set up specifically to help you meet this challenge.
Don't Forego Spaying Or Neutering Because They're An Indoor Pet
Even if your support dog never goes outside on their own, it's important that spaying or neutering take place anyway. If the animal does break away for a jaunt into the world, you won't have to worry about an impending litter arriving, nor will you have to deal with complaints from area neighbors if your dog impregnates theirs. Having your dog "fixed" also decreases their drive to roam, perhaps making both of you safer, in addition to possibly decreasing the risks of certain cancers.
Watch Their Weight
As much as you have going on in your own life, it's imperative that you keep an eye on your dog's weight. As you might know yourself, putting the pounds on is so much easier than taking them off, not to mention the fact the pounds also seem to appear overnight or when you otherwise weren't looking. To avoid the trouble of having to put them on a diet and exercise them even more than usual, try to keep them on a healthy diet that won't pack on the pounds.
Have Your Emotional Support Pet Micro-Chipped By Your Vet
Your vet can install a small, pain-free chip that will help identify and locate your dog if they ever go missing. This arrangement has proven invaluable to countless animals and their families and since you have a special need for your support animal, it's even more important that you are kept together.
Take Pet-Precautions When Traveling Together
Whenever your trusty friend rides in the car with you, make sure it's in the backseat with proper restraints. Also, leave the window open just enough to allow for fresh air to flow through, but not enough so that your dog has space to fit his head out, as that can be dangerous. Don't forget, either, that the interior of a vehicle can quickly reach unhealthy and even deadly temperatures, even when it's not hot out, so never go too far for too long, if your dog is left behind.
Emotional support animals can be the life-line between you and a healthy, happy world. It doesn't matter if you have one for anxiety, depression, or any other serious condition; you want to take as good care of them as they do of you, to ensure a long, productive and positive future together.