Ever feel like you’re alone with your anxious thoughts? That’s simply not true. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health illnesses in the United States, affecting more than 40 million adults. Yet even though it’s so common, fewer than half of all people with anxiety symptoms seek treatment.
If you or someone you know has anxiety, the first thing they should do is speak to their doctor. But whether a medical professional prescribes medication or not, there are some alternative ways that could help reduce symptoms of anxiety. One of these methods? Get a dog.
Certain dog breeds are naturally better equipped to help reduce feelings of anxiety in their owners. Ahead, check out the best dogs for people with anxiety.
If you need a dog who’s perfectly content to lounge on the couch while you binge-watch Netflix, then consider a sweet, gentle bulldog as your ideal companion. They don’t require excessive amounts of exercise, so if you want to skip the dog park and stay home, he’ll be just fine with it.
Next: This breed will keep you feeling safe.
2. German shepherd
Anxious about break-ins or personal security? A German shepherd can help you feel safe at home. This breed is also incredibly intelligent and easy to train. He’s loyal to the family, great with kids, and very loving toward his owner. He’s destined to become a beloved member of the family.
Next: This is one of the most popular breeds you can pick.
3. Golden retriever
It’s next to impossible to feel anything but joy when you gaze into the smiling face of the golden retriever. Goldens are one of America’s most popular breeds because of their easygoing natures and calm temperaments. Loyal, family-friendly, intelligent, kind, and loving, this is an all-around great pick for any person, anxiety or no.
Next: Choose this breed for the ultimate lapdog.
Lapdogs like the Maltese love to be petted. This small breed is described as gentle, playful, and charming, making it the best choice for anyone looking for a small and affectionate companion to help inspire good feelings. Let him curl up with you on the couch and feel the tension melt away.
Next: This breed is often chosen as a therapy dog.
5. Labrador retriever
This breed is one of the most popular picks for therapy dogs. They’re smart and easy to train, and they offer a calming presence for people in hospitals or nursing homes. Labs are likely to become beloved family members and are the perfect option for anyone with anxiety.
Next: This breed has looks and personality.
6. Cavalier King Charles spaniel
Searching for a small breed dog who will provide companionship and soothing feelings? A Cavalier King Charles may be the right choice. They’re perfectly adaptable to small spaces like apartments and don’t require much in terms of exercise. You’ll love cuddling up with your beautiful Cav.
Next: Adopting this breed will make you feel good.
Adopting a retired racing can soothe the soul. This breed is slightly more high energy than others on the list, but if you have a fenced-in yard or a dog park nearby, he’ll be just fine. Greyhounds enjoy curling up on the couch sometimes, too.
Next: This breed is large and loving.
8. Saint Bernard
Look up, “gentle giant” in the dictionary and no doubt you’ll see a photo of the lovably large Saint Bernard. This breed has a charming and playful disposition that can help put the most anxious mind at rest. These dogs were originally used to mind children, so they’ve developed supernaturally good patience for anyone.
Next: Pick one of the smartest dog breeds, like this one.
Don’t be fooled by the elaborate hairstyle — a poodle has a whole lot of substance underneath all that fluff. Poodles of all sizes including standard, toy, and miniature are incredibly intelligent and easy to train. They’re also less prone to shedding and have a hypoallergenic coat. Their intuitive nature means you’ll get exactly what you need, even if you suffer from anxiety.
Next: This dog is a top choice for royalty — and great for anyone with anxiety.
10. Pembroke Welsh Corgi
Corgis are the preferred breed of the British crown and it’s easy to see why Queen Elizabeth II is so enamored. They’re affectionate, smart, and great companions with lovely personalities. A corgi knows when you need a cuddle, but is also perfectly content to be independent when you need space.
Next: This dog is great at guarding the family and giving you peace of mind.
11. Great Pyrenees
You may look at this breed and think he looks majestic, and that’s true, but he’s also an excellent guard dog who has tons of affection for his owner. With a soft, supple coat that’s perfect for petting and a sweet, agreeable nature, Great Pyrenees make excellent companions for people with anxiety.
Next: They’re cute, cuddly, and helpful for people with anxiety.
12. Yorkshire terrier
Yorkies are dainty-looking but have tons of personality. Looking to meet people but not sure how to best approach them? Simply walk down the street with this beautiful, eye-catching breed and you’ll have all the natural conversation starter you need.
Next: This breed is so loving.
A pug was created to receive and give love. This charming and sometimes mischievous breed will become a treasured member of the family. They thrive in small city apartments just as well as large, sprawling farmhouses. The smiling face of a pug can help boost your mood and calm anxiety in an instant.
Next: This breed could help with social anxiety.
14. Cocker spaniel
Not too big and not too small, cocker spaniels have a loving and patient disposition that will delight the whole family. This popular breed is great with kids and easy to train, too. They love going on walks and getting plenty of exercise, which can help inspire you to do the same.
Next: You’ll love the personality of this breed.
15. Bichon frise
The Bichon frise has one of the best personalities in the dog world. These playful and affectionate pups love to cuddle and tell you how much they love you. Plus, the silly antics of this so-called comedian dog will inspire you to laugh on a daily basis.