Pet-Friendly Mental Health Treatment

Orange County Pet-Friendly Treatment Center

Pet-Friendly Mental Health Treatment in Orange County

At D’Amore Healthcare in Orange County, we provide the option for our clients to bring their dogs into treatment with them. We believe that our pet-friendly approach to mental health treatment plays a large part in our clients’ recovery. At our Orange County mental health treatment center, service animals are an integral part of creating a safe environment for our patients. 

Dogs are a source of unconditional love for their owners. They provide a type of support that can be hard to find in human relationships. People with mental health issues, especially depression and anxiety, can often find a reason to be hopeful and motivated when they have a dog with them. 

Research has provided many instances where dogs have had a ‘sense’ that their owner is in distress and have instinctively comforted them. They can be a constant companion to those who have isolated themselves due to the effects of their mental health disorder. 

Often the only reason a person who is suffering through depression or intense anxiety will leave the house is to care for their dogs. The dogs give them a reason to get up and keep going when all they want is to stay in bed. 

By coming to our Orange County mental health treatment center with a dog, our patients can have a better experience during their recovery. Being pet-friendly allows for a broader spectrum of healing and an easier transition from the outside world to the security of D’Amore Healthcare. 

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Benefits of Pet-Friendly Treatment

There have been many studies concerning dogs  and mental illness. Research shows that there are innumerable benefits to having a dog while experiencing depression or anxiety. Dogs give their owners a sense of safety and security. At the same time, they offer an open ear to people who are afraid of judgment. 

Dogs can offer many other benefits for mental health, such as:

  • Reducing Stress
  • Decreasing Loneliness
  • Decreasing Depression
  • Facilitate Social Interactions
  • Providing Companionship


Having a close bond with another living thing allows a person to have a happier, healthier life. Interacting with dogs tends to lead to lower anxiety and a reduction in symptoms that can result in an anxiety attack. By instinctively sensing when their owner is stressed, a dog can immediately provide comfort and prevent mental stressors from becoming worse. Some studies have found that people who own dogs are more likely to seek help for their mental health than those without pets.

Physiological & Psychological Benefits

Having a dog can also be beneficial physiologically. Having a dog lowers blood pressure. Having to walk a dog provides a source of exercise that the person may not have been motivated to do otherwise. There has been data that suggests that having a dog improves a person’s quality of life concerning physical health. 

Because having a dog requires physical activity, it promotes the release of endorphins, which is the body’s feel-good chemical. The exercise that is done for the benefit of the pet raises endorphins and reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. These improvements to the physiological aspects of a person’s health will eventually lead to an improvement in their psychological health.

The Power of Unconditional Love & it’s Effects on Mental Health

 For many people, their dog is more than a pet, its a family member. Often placed on the same level as one of their children. The unconditional love that pets offer can save a person from falling deeper into depression. It gives them a sense of security and responsibility as well as the feeling of being wanted. Depression and anxiety can cause a person to have irrational thoughts. A Depressed person may feel like they are unwanted or a burden to their friends and family. A dog will never make its owner feel that way. They are a constant stream of support.

People who struggle with mental health often adopt a pet to provide themselves with a form of therapy. They know the benefits of animal companionship and understand the advantages that come with owning a pet. A study published by the Journal of Nursing Education and Practice interviewed subjects who stated: “to experience love and support is healing, and when the respondents knew that their dogs needed them, they seemed to find coping resources within themselves.” The study went on to state that one of the participants was considering suicide. However, she was deterred by her strong and loving relationship with her dog. 

Unconditional love is a powerful tool in treating mental health disorders. What the animal gives to its owner in regards to love and support is unparalleled. They allow healing to take place and provide a source of encouragement for their owners. 

The Law’s Of Service Animals

Service animals are defined as dogs who are specifically trained to work with people who have disabilities. The law regarding service animals is found under the American’s With Disabilities Act. They state that those with a disability or covered condition and have a certified service animal are required to have said animal accompany them at all times. Areas open to them include, but are not limited to:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Businesses
  • Restaurants

A person is not allowed to touch a service animal while they are wearing their service vest. It is also not permitted to ask the owner of a service animal what their disability is. It is prohibited to discriminate against a person with a service animal. 

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ESAs (Emotional Support Animals)

ESAs, or emotional support animals, are different from service dogs in that they do not have to be trained specifically for a disability. They are used by people who have a mental health disorder and need a constant source of emotional support. While not required to attend obedience school, ESAs must be well behaved and not be the cause of any public disturbances. Emotional support animals do not have the same rights as service animals and it is important to know the restrictions on ESAs

D’Amore’s Pet-Friendly Treatment Center 

At our Orange County mental health treatment center, we believe in the power of pet-friendly treatments and the positive effect it has on our patients. We provide several different types of mental health treatments, such as:

We know that having a dog with our patients during therapy will give them a sense of security and comfort they might not usually feel. At our Orange County mental health treatment center, our top priority is our patient’s peace of mind. A service animal offers solace during the complicated healing process. They can be an anchor for their owner when they are struggling with intense emotions. The psychological benefits of our patient’s dogs can be used to create an optimal experience during our patient’s stay with us.

By bringing their dog with them, our patients will be better able to participate in the therapeutic process. This can help guide them to a healthier way of life.

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