Many dogs provide emotional support to their owners. However, a specific law in the United States exclusively permits some people to have an Emotional Support Animal. Even though all dogs provide emotional support, some ESA dog can help provide therapeutic benefits to mentally distressed users.
What is An ESA Dog?
Wondering what is an ESA dog? It is nothing but a psychiatrist or a therapist who prescribes an Emotional Support Animal to someone with a disability or a mental illness. Therefore, many people’s own dogs are named by mental health professionals under Emotional Support Dog (ESA). For many people, an emotional support dog proves to be beneficial because they help them stay calm and be less anxious. They usually see an Emotional Support Dog as a person’s companion, and this dog helps the user relieve any mental distress like anxiety or depression. It also helps in overcoming specific phobias.
Best Emotional Support Dog Breeds
Dog breeds that are calm, loyal, and friendly are most suitable as emotional support dogs. Here are some of the most reliable dogs that can be excellent as emotional support dogs:
#1 Labrador Retriever
A labrador retriever has a happy and relaxed personality. This breed of dog is hard to disturb. They can be playful and trustworthy breeds. That is why they are dependable when it comes to an emotional support dog.
#2 Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. They are generally owned as pets in most american airlines service animal families. As emotional support dogs, they can be suitable. They are patient and friendly and, therefore, can help you relax.
Corgis are highly energetic breeds, and their intelligence makes them well-trained dogs. They are also affectionate towards their owners, making them suitable emotional support dogs. However, they are also required to be taken out regularly. That is why you must match their energy to suit their condition.
#4 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a very breed and loves cuddling. That is why they are also known as the ‘comforter spaniel’. They are usually happy and love to go out for a walk.
Chihuahuas are pretty friendly if you socialize with them at an early age. They do not need to exercise much and make you happy with their playful nature. They are also very affectionate towards their human partners.
#6 German Shepherd
They know German shepherds for their high intelligence but can also engage with their human friends well. The animals love playing with their human friends and are also capable of going to public places with training.
#7 Yorkshire Terrier
This breed can quickly adapt to change and love attention from its human partners. They are also small, which makes them easy to travel. They are also pretty friendly, which makes them amazing emotional support dogs.
They are always active and protective of their flock. You have to go out and enjoy yourself with them because they need to exercise as well. They can also be trained quickly and provide comfort to their human friends, making them an excellent choice as the best emotional support dogs.
What Disabilities Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal?
It would help if a therapist or a psychiatrist prescribed you a dog; only then will you be able to get an emotional support animal. The mental health professional must also certify you as an emotionally disabled person. They know the certificate that you will receive from the professional is an ESA letter. They must write the letter on the mental health professional’s letterhead. It should include the license type, license number, the license of the professional, and the state where the permit is issued. So, what disabilities qualify for an emotional support animal:
- Mental disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Gender identity
- Tic disorders
- Addiction to a substance-related disorder (alcohol, drugs, or any other substance)
- Motor skills disorder
- Sexual disorder
- Mental disorder
- Cognitive disorder
- Learning disorder
- Attention deficit disorder (ADHD OR ADD)
- Panic attacks
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Stress problems
- Specific phobias (like social phobias)
- Emotionally overwhelmed
Service Dog Vs Emotional Support Dog
As the name suggests, a service animal is a dog or any other animal that provides a particular service to its owners. The American Disabilities Act says that a service animal is any trained dog that helps a person with a disability perform their tasks. The disabilities may include physical, psychiatric, sensory, intellectual, or any other mental disability. They train service dogs to do specific tasks for their owners. For example, if a person is blind, their dog can guide and help them travel safely.
On the other hand, an Emotional Support dog is just there to provide companionship to an individual. It does not train these dogs to offer any service to their users. They are considered therapeutic because they provide love and affection for their users. So, these are the difference between service dog vs emotional support dog.
Emotional Support Dog Registration
There is no official place or site to register an Emotional Support Animal. However, one should have an emotional support dog certification, also known as an ESA letter from a mental health professional. So, how to get an esa letter? The letter needs to be legitimate, and a mental health professional should write the letterhead. The professional’s license number and signature, along with the date of the signature, must be mentioned.
Suppose you still need to get a certificate. In that case, you can have an appointment with a mental health professional who will help you get your letter, or you can use websites like Emotional Pet Support, ESA Doctors, or CetraPet. you will have to complete an evaluation based on mental health to receive the ESA letter. You will also have to pay for these websites for their services.
Once you have received the ESA letter, you can use it when you want to fly along with your animal or when you want to rent a house, since landlords cannot discriminate against you for having a dog when you have the letter. However, if you do not have the ESA letter, your landlord can oppose it. You can also buy a vest for your dog to signify them as an ESA Dog.
Emotional Support Animal Requirements
Here are a few Emotional Support Animal Requirements that you need to fulfil to have an ESA dog:
#1 Consult a Mental Health Professional
You need to consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist because they can diagnose your condition and let you know if you qualify for an ESA. You can also go online to get your ESA letter since many websites take mental health evaluations to check whether you are eligible for an ESA companion.
#2 Receive an ESA letter
You need a certificate and an ESA letter from a therapist or a psychiatrist to have an emotional support dog. The ESA dog certification and the letter must mention the license number, and they should note the date and state of the certificate.
#3 Get Diagnosed by a Mental Health Professional
You may also have to be diagnosed by a mental health professional before you get an ESA dog. Sometimes, you may also have to visit the mental health professional regularly before you receive your certificate and letter.
How to Get an Emotional Support Dog?
The answer to this question how to get an emotional support dog is simple, First you need to get an ESA letter from a mental health professional. This letter signifies that you have a mental health condition and need an animal. Some airlines accept a letter from a medical professional, but primarily a therapist or a psychiatrist is required to sign the letter.
If you already have a pet dog, you can certify it as an emotional support dog. However, if you do not have a pet dog, you can choose the best breed and look for different places to adopt it. You can consult your psychiatrist or your therapist before you adopt a dog. DRememberto speaks with your landlord before going through the adoption process.
Some airlines also require a veterinarian health certificate to ensure your dog is clinically healthy. They might also want to check the vaccination card licensed by a veterinarian as proof that it has dog anti rabies vaccination in the last year. The certificate should also show whether it received anti parasitic medication for dogs in the previous six months to ensure its passengers’ safety. You should always carry your ESA letter with your therapist or psychiatrist’s license number. It should also include the date on which it issued the letter and the state in which it was published. Make sure that the date of the letter is less than one year since some flights only permit emotional support dogs that were prescribed many years ago.
Some airlines also charge an additional fee if you want to take your dog on a flight. That is why you should inquire with the airlines about the fees required. Some planes do not allow sizeable emotional support dogs; hence, you should inform the authorities to know whether they permit such dogs.
Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed on Planes?
Worrying about are emotional support Animals Allowed on Planes? Do not worry. Most airlines allow dogs in airplanes, but some international flights do not take ESA dogs. That is why you should confirm with the airlines before booking a flight. Some airlines may not permit you to bring ESA dogs if they pose any threat to the health or safety of the passengers. Some airlines also check the weight and size of the dog before permitting them into the airplane. You need to check with the airlines before booking a ticket.
You also must ensure your dog is well-trained to avoid any problems later. Some airlines also require you to fill out a form before travel to know if the dog is well-trained and vaccinated.
What Rights Do ESA Dogs Have?
An Emotional Support Dog does not have the same rights as a service dog. However, there are certain rights you should know if you have an emotional support dog:
They do not see an emotional support dog as a pet. It is seen as a companion to a person with a disability. Hence, they are exempted from certain restrictions that exist for pets. Under fair housing rules, a housing provider cannot discriminate against you if you have an ESA dog, provided that you have an ESA letter. Also, a building’s policies that apply to general pets cannot be applied to an ESA. A landlord cannot impose breed, size, or weight limitations on ESAs. However, a landlord can deny an ESA if the pet imposes any financial burden on them. They can also oppose an ESA pet if it poses any health or safety threat to others.
Emotional support animals are also allowed to travel with their owners. However, if the dog threatens the health or safety of others, their traveling can be restricted. Some airlines may require you to fill out a form before boarding your dog on the plane. It would help if you also informed the airlines before you decide to take any flights with your emotional support dog.
An Emotional Support Dog has many mental health benefits; one should only have one if their psychiatrist or therapist permits them. The laws for a service dog and an emotional support dog are different. That is why you need to consider all the factors before starting your journey with an emotional support dog. If you are planning to travel with your dog, you need to take care of all the formalities before you board a plane with your dog. Some international flights have different rules regarding emotional support dogs. That is why you must do thorough research before booking an international flight.