The Best Dog Breeds for Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Around ten million Americans are said to suffer from seasonal affective disorder, with another 10% to 20% of the population experiencing this in a milder form. There are a few different treatment options available for seasonal depression, with one of the most enjoyable being an emotional support animal.

The Winter Blues & Summer Depression: Understanding What is Seasonal Affective Disorder? 

Seasonal affective disorder also referred to as SAD, is a form of depression that is brought about by a change in the seasons. This means that there is a pattern in the onset of symptoms, with these usually starting and ending at around the same time each year.

For the majority of people who experience seasonal depression, symptoms usually begin in late fall. They then start to disappear in the spring, once the days become longer. This form of seasonal affective disorder is also commonly known as the winter blues.

However, for some people, it’s the other way around…

Spring and summer seasonal affective disorder, also known as summer depression, begins in the spring. This then continues until the fall, when the days begin to get shorter.

What is Emotional Deprivation Disorder?

For most people, seasonal affective disorder is brought about by deprivation of sunlight. However, there is another deprivation disorder that you should know about too…

When a person is deprived of emotional strengthening during their childhood, this can lead to the onset of emotional deprivation disorder.

This is a condition that makes it difficult for a person to form bonds and relationships with others. They experience everything from low self-esteem to social phobias to depression, along with fatigue, migraines and a weakened immune system.

In the same way that seasonal affective disorder can cause a neurochemical imbalance in the brain, emotional deprivation disorder can lead to this too.

A Seasonal Affective Disorder Lamp will Work! But, so will an Emotional Support Animal: 5 Ways ESAs Better the Lives of People with Seasonal Depression

One of the most common treatment options for seasonal depression is a seasonal affective disorder lamp. These lamps mimic sunlight, stimulating the brain into producing more serotonin, which is a hormone that makes you feel happy.

However, there is something, or rather, someone, else that can do the same…

An emotional support animal can really help people who are suffering from seasonal affective disorder.


Here are just five of the ways:

  1. Outdoor time – people suffering from seasonal depression tend to avoid going outdoors. An ESA forces you to do this, ensuring that you spend some time outdoors each day. This in itself can be a huge mood booster
  2. Touch – when you have an animal, there is plenty of physical contact between the two of you. This stimulates your body into releasing oxytocin, a hormone that reduces stress and anxiety, as well as the heart rate. It also increases serotonin and dopamine, both of which will have you feeling so much happier
  3. Socialization – animals encourage socialization, and this encouragement is something that people with SAD really need. Animals are a great ice-breaker when speaking to someone new, and this will help you to meet other like-minded people
  4. Entertainment – animals are hilarious, and your ESA will no doubt make you laugh each day. This triggers the brain into releasing endorphins that lift your mood
  5. Unconditional love – an ESA will not only fully accept you without judging you, but the unconditional love that you will feel from your emotional support animal will mean the world to you on days when you are feeling down

Depression is Real! And, CertaPet is Here to Help You!

Some people may say that depression is not an actual health condition, but they are completely wrong.

Depression is 100% real, and while this illness may be extremely debilitating, stay positive because there is a cure.

Of course, the cure is different for everybody, but many would agree that an ESA can really help to ease the symptoms of depression.

Curious about whether or not you would actually qualify for an ESA?

It doesn’t take long to find out!

CertaPet have a free online pre-screening that you can complete in just five minutes. This will then be reviewed by a licensed medical health professional. If they feel that you do qualify, you and your pooch could receive your ESA letter in just two days!

Another Word for Sad: How Seasonal Depression Affects Everyone Differently 

Although some people with seasonal depression experience similar symptoms, this is a disorder that affects everyone in a different way.

Symptoms vary, but can include the following:

  •     Fatigue
  •     Low energy
  •     A loss of interest in activities you used to love
  •     Difficulty concentrating
  •     Persistent negative thoughts
  •     Sleep problems
  •     Feelings of depression each day

Symptoms can also be different depending on the type of seasonal affective disorder you are experiencing, i.e. whether you have the winter blues or summer depression.

Those who experience seasonal affective disorder in the fall and winter may also notice appetite changes, weight gain, and that they tend to oversleep more. Those who experience it in the spring and summer may notice bouts of insomnia, along with a poor appetite and weight loss. For both groups of people, feelings of anxiety and agitation are also quite common.

Depression Vs Sadness: When Do You Qualify for an ESA Letter

Many people confuse depression with sadness, but the two are not the same at all.

Sadness is a normal emotion for humans to experience and is usually triggered by a specific situation. On the other hand, depression is not a normal state for the mind to be in. It causes a person to feel sad about literally everything, rather than a particular trigger. It makes every part of life less enjoyable, sucking away a person’s energy, motivation, and happiness.

While feeling sad once in a while wouldn’t qualify you for an ESA letter, depression most definitely would.

Not only is this an emotional disorder, but it is one that can be helped significantly with an emotional support animal.

So, What are the Best Dog Breeds for Seasonal Affective Disorder aka S.A.D? 

While just about every dog breed could potentially help with seasonal affective disorder, there are some that stand out from the crowd due to certain traits that their breed has…

Fight that Winter Depression with these Small Dog Breeds: Cavapoo Puppies & Pomsky Puppies!

Small breed dogs are exceptionally cute, and this is even more so when they are still puppies.

Cavapoo puppies, which are a mix between the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Poodle, are such gorgeous bundles of fun. They are sweet and loving dogs, and the fact that they don’t tend to shed much is a huge bonus for many. They are small in size and require just a moderate amount of exercise, making them suitable for a wide variety of owners.

Pomsky puppies, which are a mix between the Siberian Husky and the Pomeranian, are a newer cross but are becoming very popular. They are playful and funny, and while they tend to be quite quiet and calm, they do require a fair bit of exercise and mental stimulation.

Best Large Dog Breeds for Fighting a Depressive Episode this Winter: The German Shepherd & The Golden Retriever 

If you would prefer a larger breed to help with your seasonal depression, a German Shepherd is well worth considering. Originally bred as a working dog, German Shepherds are quite active. They love being outdoors, and this is a great way to encourage someone with seasonal affective disorder to spend more time in nature. This in itself can help to relieve symptoms of seasonal depression.

The Golden Retriever is another large breed that loves to spend time outside. They require quite a bit of exercise but are also intensely loving and loyal, making them a fantastic breed to help with seasonal depression.

Big Dog Breeds Perfect for Seasonal Depression: The Great Dane & The Mastiff

Giant dog breeds offer up a unique sense of security, and this can mean the world when a person is experiencing seasonal depression symptoms.

Great Danes are such a lovable giant breed, although you do need to make sure that your home is big enough to accommodate their large size. They are extremely gentle and are known for being good with children, making them the perfect family dog.

While the Mastiff is slightly smaller, they are still a large and heavy breed. This ancient breed is known for their strength and courage, but they are also loved for their calm and docile nature. Mastiffs bond quickly with their owners, and will soon be able to start recognizing the symptoms of a person’s seasonal affective disorder.

Don’t Let the SAD Definition Define You! Talk to an LMHP About Your Seasonal Depression Today! 

When experiencing seasonal affective disorder, it can be easy to allow your symptoms to simply take over, dimming down your zest for life.

Rather than struggling through this on your own, it is definitely worth speaking to a licensed medical health professional about your condition. Even if you don’t want to speak to one face-to-face, filling out the pre-screening on CertaPet will ensure that your disorder is officially recognized. You would then be able to make the most of an emotional support animal to help you with your condition.

Seasonal affective disorder can be a difficult condition to deal with. If you are looking for a way to treat your condition before turning to antidepressants, an emotional service animal could be exactly what you need.


How can a dog help to treat seasonal affective disorder?

Would having seasonal affective disorder qualify me for an ESA?

Which small breeds are best for helping with seasonal depression?

Which large breeds are best for helping with seasonal depression?

How do I go about getting an ESA letter for my dog?

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