Despite the popularity of emotional support animals, experts say there’s little evidence they work

“We just don’t know whether they work or how much they work,” said Molly Crossman, a Yale University researcher who studies human and animal interactions.

There are few studies that examine emotional support animals, and the conclusions of these studies are mixed, she said. Also, the studies focus on dogs or horses, not other species. In her work, Crossman has found little evidence that animals can relieve anxiety or stress.

Still, those who work with animals designed to bring comfort to people struggling with mental health obstacles say people feel better after interacting with animals.

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