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Emotional Support Animal: Everything You Need To Know In 2023
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If you have a pet, you already know the benefits of having a loving companion. Yet, for those with mental health conditions or emotional distress, their pet can be more than just a companion; It can be critical to their quality of life. Pets that provide emotional comfort in this way are called emotional support animals.
What Is An Emotional Support Animal?
An emotional support animal accompanies a person with a diagnosed mental condition to provide comfort and ease in various situations and environments. While the idea is intriguing to many, some wonder how an emotional support animal could be any different than an average household pet. We will be going over the differences and ways to prove that your pet is a legitimate emotional support animal and answer a few other questions related to the topic.
How To Qualify For An ESA Letter?
To receive an ESA letter, you must meet the formal requirements and qualifications when speaking with your designated mental health professional. While in the end, it is up to the mental health counselor’s judgment, you will have an easier time obtaining an ESA letter if you have been professionally diagnosed with a mental health condition.
The process is somewhat similar to CertaPet,a service we will explain further later in this article. However, you will have to put in more time and effort without the assistance of a service. To obtain an ESA, you will need to meet up with mental health professionals for a proper consultation.
If the professional decides that you are a patient who needs an emotional support animal, they will issue you an ESA letter to get assistance animals. Conditions such as anxiety, depression, and ADHD may qualify you for an emotional support animal. It is important to note that you will only get your ESA letter from a licensed mental health counselor who is legally allowed to write these letters. You can do an online search to find professionals in your area, consult with your primary physician, or check with your insurance company.
Get An ESA Letter With CertaPet
One of the ways you can make a dog an official emotional support animal — with proof to show to others — is by getting an emotional support animal letter (ESA letter) from CertaPet.
One of the services they offer is a professional checkup and diagnosis with a licensed mental health professional. After the checkup, you may be ‘prescribed’ your emotional support animal and given a letter that solidifies the diagnosis.
Emotional Support Dog Vs. Psychiatric Service Dog
Many wonder about the differences between emotional support dogs and psychiatric service dogs. A psychiatric service dog has been specifically trained to react to its owner’s mental or psychiatric conditions and assist them if something is going wrong.
On the other hand, emotional support dogs have received little to no training regarding a person’s specific mental disorder and, instead, help comfort their owner by offering companionship and providing emotional support.
Is Emotional Support Dog Allowed On Flights?
The rule regarding whether emotional support dogs will be permitted on flights or not is up to the airlines themselves. If they do allow emotional support dogs, then ESA letters will likely be required.
On the other hand, psychiatric service dogs are permitted to air travel, though a DOT Service Animal Transportation form must be submitted in advance. The passenger must certify on the record that their dog has been specially trained to offer help and services regarding their disability.
Housing Registration For Your Pet
You are interested in moving into a place, but the landlord does not allow pets. If that is the case, would showing an ESA housing letter change the landlord’s mind about letting the pet live with you?
A landlord cannot simply deny your emotional service animal because of the no-pet policy. If you do have an emotional service animal, you are allowed to request reasonable accommodations.
In some cases, the landlords may ask to see your letter, which you will need to provide.
Where Can I Get My Emotional Support Dog?
You can get an emotional support dog from places such as dog shelters, breeders, and stores.
Since emotional support animals do not require any extensive training, all you will need is to check up with a veterinarian to ensure the animal is healthy and has all the necessary shots.
Aside from that, you can get an emotional support dog the same way you would look into getting any other average pet!
Final thoughts: Are ESA Letters Legit?
ESA letters are indeed legitimate letters that you can get from many services. These letters may be required to board flights or rent an apartment where normal pets may not be considered.
By confirming your dog as an emotional support animal and having a letter to back it up as evidence, you should not have any trouble bringing your pet to those types of places.
Frequently Asked Questions
You should be able to bring your dog to outdoor locations that are considered public property. Private establishments may have their policies, however, due to the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals are allowed in any store, government building, restaurant, etc.
Any animal that provides the owner with a calm and stable mood can count as an emotional support animal when having mental difficulties. It is important to note that emotional support animals usually don’t receive any form of training, and aside from the name and letter, they almost always act like average dogs.
The first step is to meet with your therapist or a mental health professional to gain an ESA letter and prescription for your support animal. The easiest way to find an emotional support animal is by visiting local shelters, breeders, and stores that offer pets!
Yes, you can! The next time you meet with your therapist or mental health professional, you can formally request approval for an emotional support animal.
Yes, as long as the animal is domesticated, it can prove to be an emotional support animal for when you are having mental troubles. Only dogs can be qualified as service animals, however.
To determine whether you qualify for an emotional support animal see your therapist or mental health professional. Generally speaking, those with a diagnosed mental health condition can almost always qualify for an emotional support animal.
+ 2 sources
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- Hud.gov. (2018). HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). [online] Available at: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/assistance_animals.