What Is An Anxiety Service Dog And How Can One Help Me?

This post was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.

Dogs have long been described as man’s best friend for a reason. Not only are they always there to provide friendship and entertainment, but they can also make our lives easier when we’re experiencing stress or other difficulties. In recent years, mental health conditions like anxiety and depression have been on the rise, leading people to seek out ways to find relief. 

One of the unique benefits of dogs is that they can offer support to individuals facing these concerns, helping them overcome their symptoms and lead more productive lives. Anxiety service dogs can serve a unique purpose in the lives of those facing anxiety disorders, which you can learn more about by continuing to read this article. 

What Is An Anxiety Service Dog?

Service dogs are animals that have been specially trained to perform a specific task along with providing emotional support. Thus, anxiety service dogs are there to help individuals facing anxiety disorders such as phobias, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and so on. They’re not pets, but rather working animals. 

How Can An Anxiety Service Dog Help Me?

If you’re living with an anxiety disorder, getting an anxiety service dog could improve your quality of life and overall functioning. Below are some of the ways an anxiety service dog can be helpful: 

  • They can warn you of an oncoming panic attack, giving you time to prepare and get somewhere safe. 
  • They can provide comfort during a panic attack by licking you, laying on your lap, or putting their paw on you. 
  • They can get your medications, water, or anything else you need during times of distress, such as during a panic attack. 
  • They can go find help or even dial the phone number for emergency services when you’re in need of urgent support. 
  • They can provide distraction when you feel a panic attack coming on, possibly warding it off altogether. 

Other benefits associated with owning an anxiety service dog extend beyond their working capabilities. For example, they can encourage their owners to exercise more, offer companionship for those feeling lonely or isolated, and teach people how to anticipate the needs of someone other than themselves. Dogs can also provide stress relief, allowing their owners to relax and enjoy life more. 

Getting An Anxiety Service Dog

Not just anyone can get a service dog for anxiety. In order to qualify for one, you must meet specific requirements, such as:

  • You must have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder by a licensed professional, such as a doctor, therapist, or psychiatrist 
  • You need to have the ability to care for the animal financially
  • You must be able to give your dog a stable, healthy home environment to live in
  • Your attendance is needed while your dog is receiving training
  • You need to be able to command your dog in instances where you need it to do something for you, which often means attending a handler training program
  • You need to be able to give your dog love, care, and attention

To learn more about the process of getting an anxiety service dog, consider connecting with a licensed therapist through an online platform like BetterHelp, which offers therapy virtually. A therapist can help you decide whether adding an anxiety service dog to your life is the right decision for you and the animal, as well as provide alternative options for support. 


Anxiety service dogs can provide numerous benefits to those who own them. While they serve an important role in keeping their owners safe, they also offer comfort, unconditional love, and acceptance. Investing in an anxiety service dog can be life-changing, allowing people to manage their symptoms more effectively and lead happier, more productive lives. 

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