There's nothing quite like the relationship between a person and their dog. In fact, simply spending time with a dog can improve your health and general well-being. While any dog can help you feel comfortable, some dogs take this a step further by acting as an emotional support animal (ESA). An ESA can help relieve stress, anxiety, and a plethora of other mental health problems by spending time by your side or applying pressure therapy to calm you down.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about emotional support dogs and how to register them.
What Is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
An emotional support animal (ESA) is there to provide comfort for people who struggle with mental health disorders. Their purpose is to provide relief for symptoms like anxiety, panic attacks, and even stress. While one of the most common types of emotional support animals is a dog, any animal can be an ESA! This means that you can have a cat, hamster, guinea pig, or any other animal as an ESA.
Who Is Eligible for an Emotional Support Animal?
Anyone who has a mental health disorder is eligible for an emotional support animal. While they don't have the same protections as service dogs, if you get an evaluation and an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional, you can register your animal as an ESA. You can find out if you’re eligible by speaking with your doctor, but there are also online ESA letter providers that can connect you with a licensed mental health professional that focuses on ESA registration.
What's the Difference Between an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) and a Service Dog?
Emotional support animals and service dogs are similar, but they don't have the same protections under the law. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recognizes ESAs, there aren't any protections in place for them. For example, service dogs are protected under law in public spaces, so you’re allowed to bring your service dog with you anywhere. Service dogs are also protected by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), which doesn't apply to ESAs according to the latest Department of Transportation policies.
On the other hand, ESAs are mostly protected by the Fair Housing Act (FHA), which states that emotional support animals have to be allowed in apartments as long as they're well-behaved.
How to Register Your Dog as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)
Registering your ESA is simple if you get an ESA letter from a reputable licensed mental health professional. If you have a therapist or someone who evaluates your mental health, they can write you a letter that states that an ESA is a type of treatment that alleviates symptoms of a mental health disorder. Unfortunately, going this route can be expensive and take a long time. For this reason, the best way to get an ESA letter is to register your ESA online with a reputable provider.
One of the best providers for emotional support dog registration is US Service Animals, and you can get started by following the steps below.
- Visit the emotional support dog registration page.
- Enter information about yourself. This includes your mental health disorder and some general information like your full name, residence, and email address.
- Enter information about your dog. You'll need to provide their name, type of breed, size of the dog, and much more.
- Schedule a call with a licensed mental health professional. They'll reach out to you and ask you some questions about your condition to see if you qualify.
- Wait for your ESA letter to arrive in the mail.
Once you receive your ESA letter, you can present it to your landlord if you live in an apartment that's not pet-friendly. While they don't have the same protections as service dogs, some public places may also allow you to take them with you.
Register Your Dog as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Today!
Registering your dog as an emotional support animal isn't difficult; you just have to work with reputable organizations to avoid any complications. For this reason, we always recommend working with reputable emotional support letter providers like US Service Animals. While other providers are available, they streamline the process and make everything straightforward, even the part where you need to connect with a licensed mental health professional.