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Veterinarians are seeing a spike in burn out amongst dogs, thanks to rampant abuse of the “emotional support animal” label (ESA). In the past year, the number of emotional support animal letters for pets has increased 101-fold and dogs and cats are suffering as a result.

“A burned out cat who can’t even talk on a phone”

An editorial in The Newfoundland Journal of Medicine implores doctors to stop writing these letters, explaining: “Previously, dogs were able to rest at home while owners went to work or ran errands; now, they are now forced to accompany their demanding pet owners everywhere—to restaurants, stores, airports, and buses.

This constant companionship is detrimental to dogs’ mental welfare, not only subjecting dogs to sensory overload, but also forcing them to remain ‘on call’ at all times. Imagine being hammer-paged by your most insufferable patient every minute of every day for months on end—that’s how the dog feels.”

While they wait for this epidemic to pass, veterinarians are focusing their efforts on the dogs currently suffering. The treatment for emotional support animal burnout is prolonged absence from the owner; however, for dogs whose owners are particularly overbearing and/or unable to separate, veterinarians have begun prescribing emotional support hamsters.

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