We all need to know how to get a therapy dog for depression whenever we’re faced with one.

Studies have proven in recent times that therapy dogs and other Assistance animals provide significant relief for people with several health conditions, anxiety, and depression, the most common one amongst them.

If you are in this predicament or ever find yourself in one, here’s everything you need to know about how to get a therapy dog for depression and all of what it entails, including how it can help you and what it would cost.

how to get a therapy dog for depression

Depression is known as a Mental Illness. Depression negatively affects how one feels, the way they think, and how they act; Depression is known for causing unhappy feelings and sadness, and or a loss of interest in activities that one once enjoyed and loved. Depression can lead to a lot of physical and emotional problems and can also decrease a person’s ability to function properly and effectively at work and at home.

But fortunately, it can also be easily treated, through medication and sometimes Therapy and that is where Therapy dogs Come in, they are usually Calm, Caring, affectionate, and loving Beings that are used to cheer up people suffering from any kind of ailment including depression, these dogs go through a severe routine of Adequate testing to ensure their compatibility with the task, you’d mostly see them in schools, hospitals, hospices, psychiatric homes e.t.c and they also cater to victims of Dementia, Alzheimer, and Schizophrenia, there is a significant distinction between Therapy dogs, Emotional support dogs and Service dogs, but they are all useful to individuals during depression, depending on the severity of your condition.

In most cases, not every Depressive condition can Qualify for a Service Dog, as they would first have to qualify as a disability, but Therapy dogs are readily obtainable because they cater to mild cases.

how to get a therapy dog for depression

Read also: Best Water Bowl for Cocker Spaniels

When is Depression or Anxiety Seen as a Disability? 

It’s essential to understand your situation and know whether you’ll qualify to get a service dog for anxiety or depression, not everyone may need the help of therapy dogs to mitigate the symptoms, some may require way more than that.

When is anxiety or depression considered disabling?

The official definition for this, according to the ADA is that; Disabling illness is one that can physically or psychiatrically limit one or more major life activities, such as walking, talking, seeing, hearing, learning, etc., If these illnesses do not limit one or more life activities, you do not qualify for a Service Dog animal.

However, someone who observes or experiences mild levels of anxiety, for instance; having an increased level of worry about what other people might be thinking about you while being out, is not considered to be a disability.

This does not, however, mean, that a Service dog would not provide soothing or adequate comfort to a person with mild anxiety – they probably would; however, in such cases, a Therapy dog is often considered to be sufficient enough, but it is also important to know

The different types of therapy dogs available includes ;

1. Therapeutic Visitation Dogs

These are household dog pets that are bred, trained and taken to rehabilitation centers, nursing homes and clinics, hospitals, house for mentally disabled persons e.t.c and other locations, they’re aim is to provide comfort, joy, peace, happiness, companionship, and love for people living away from home due to some physical or mental illnesses.

2. Dogs Assisted Therapy Dogs

These Dog usually works with physical and occupational therapists in a rehabilitation center; they aim to provide assistance in any way possible to individuals in meeting their recovery goals.

3. Facility Therapy Dogs 

Now, these Dogs are stationed in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. They work and assist residents that have mental conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia, schizophrenia, or other mental illness out there.

How does a Therapy Dog aid in relieving Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression?

Therapy dogs used for these mental conditions are becoming increasingly popular, and there are many great success stories. There are several ways that a Therapy dog can aid in relieving the symptoms of anxiety or depression in people, which includes;

• Engaging with the individual

• Providing moments of happiness

• Leaning over an anxious individual to provide physical comfort during anxiety attacks.

• Detecting attacks before they come to light

• Reminding severely depressed individuals to take their medications.

• Getting a phone to call for help or using suitable phone devices to call for help during a crisis.

• Caressing or cuddling up on the bed with the individual to provide moments of care, love, and comfort.

How to Get a Therapy Dog for Depression

The process is a very simple and straightforward one because most therapy dogs are usually offered to hospitals, hospices, psychiatric institutions, rehabilitation, and therapy centers, T.D.I., e.t.c.

If you have depression and often find yourself in these places, then it’s best you request that a therapy dog be provided for you, to ease you through the process, there is no fee or cost attached to getting a therapy dog as they are usually offered voluntarily by the dog owners.


Dr. Sophia Bookmyer is an absolute gem of a Veterinarian. She brings decades of experience to Vetpetsguide and has overflowing talent and passion for breeding and caring for pets, their people, and the team around her. Dr. Sophia was born and raised in Columbiana, Ohio. She completed her undergraduate studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. After earning her DVM from The Ohio State University in 1980. She has experience of over 3 decades and is very happy to share them. Her goal is to give pets all over the world a better life and to recommend the best tips, advice, and also recommend the best product for every pet owner.

Write A Comment