22 June, 2015

Updated 2017: Little-Known Benefits of Emotional Support Animals

CertaPet Emotional Support Animal benefits

Emotional Support Animal Benefits

Did you know that a 12,000-year-old human skeleton was found in Israel a few years ago with its hand resting on the skeleton of a 6-month-old wolf pup?

It’s true, the bond between humans and animals goes way back, and our relationships are very powerful.

For instance, studies show that pet owners have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and better mental health, among many other perks, both physical and emotional. Not too surprising, right?

However, what you may not know is that you might qualify for your pet to be an Emotional Support Animal.

That’s right.

Unlike Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals don’t have to undergo any sort of training. In fact, all you have to do to qualify is prove that your pet minimizes the negative symptoms associated with your emotional disability, whether it’s anxiety, depression, or stress, through an emotional support animal letter…  After registering your pet as an ESA, you’ll be able to enjoy the following benefits:

Housing – Landlords Can’t Charge Pets Fees and Pet Deposits (Protected by the FHA)

How many times have you heard of friends and/or family members having to give up their pets because of their housing situation? You can protect yourself from this tragic, yet common, scenario by registering your pet as an ESA. Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1998, you will qualify for no-pet housing, including housing that limits your pet’s size or breed. Additionally, you can’t be charged a pet fee.

Get ready to say goodbye to pet deposits and pet rent because they will be a thing of the past.

Airlines – Airlines Have to Allow ESA to Fly in Cabin and Can’t Charge a Pet Travel Fee

If you’re like the vast majority of people, you might find yourself on a flight from time to time. Unfortunately, airlines have made it very difficult for pet owners to fly with their pets by either charging outrageous pet fees or disallowing pet travel altogether.

Under The Air Carrier Access Act, you will be able to fly with your pet in the cabin with NO fee. That is an additional $90 – $300 (each way) that you will be able to avoid when flying with your fur baby!

The Bottom Line

Most people are unaware of the benefits or effectiveness of Emotional Support Animals. Furthermore, they are unaware of just how simple it is to qualify and register. As long as your little one poses no threat to other people or animals, then you are well on your way to having your very own ESA. You can even take a free screening to see if you qualify for an emotional support cat or dog!

ESA benefits - see if you qualify for an emotional support animal

Updated 2017: Pet Fees and Charges for Major Airlines

American Airlines Pet Fees and Policies

In-cabin/carry-on pet fare: $125 one-way

Cargo area/Checked baggage pet fare: $200 one-way

Find detailed American Airlines pet policy here.

Southwest Airlines Pet Fees and Policies

In-cabin/carry-on pet fare: $95 one-way

Cargo area/Checked baggage pet fare: Not possible. Pets are not permitted as checked baggage.

Delta Airlines Pet Fees and Policies

In-cabin/carry-on pet fare: $125 one-way

Checked baggage pet fare: Not allowed. Must be transported as cargo. However, exceptions made for emotional support animals.

Cargo: Pricing varies.

You can find more details about United Airlines Pet Policy here.

United Airlines Pet Fees and Policies

In-cabin/carry-on pet fare: $125 one-way. Additional $125 service charge applied for each stopover of more than 4 hours.

Cargo area/Checked baggage pet fare: Pricing varies.

Spirit Airlines Pet Fees and Policies

In-cabin/carry-on pet fare: $100 one-way (per container, so may be able to fit two kittens/puppies in one and just pay for one container)

Cargo area/Checked baggage pet fare: Not allowed.

Owners traveling with an emotional support animal are never required to pay any of the fees. In most cases, an emotional support animal will be allowed to travel in-cabin with the passenger. You can find information on flying with an emotional support animal here.

You can find more information about the US Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) here.

Comments 41

  1. This kinda confuses me. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder with Depression and Anxiety and I took the “if you qualify” questionnaire yet it says that I am not “qualified” to have one of my dogs as an emotional support animal? I have been under the care of a psychiatrist for almost 10 years. I have always had dogs and they have always been a source of comfort for me well into adulthood. I wanted to register my youngest Boston Terrier mix because she is the most well-behaved/trained out of the bunch while also more comforting me when I’m having troubles. The questionnaire then directed me to suicide prevention sites and lines, yes I did indicate suicidal thoughts, but I don’t need that and they generally don’t work for me but rather irritate me further. The only thing I need is her when I am out by myself. I’ve found sites that only ask for a note to be sent by your doctor indicating whether or not having an emotional support animal. My question is exactly what “qualifies” a person for an emotional support animal? Is it for people who haven’t had suicidal thoughts, because that is unfair to those like myself who benefit from the company of their pets.

    1. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website, https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/ReasonableAccommodations15, you do NOT need to pay to get your animal certified. “For purposes of reasonable accommodation requests, neither the Fair Housing Act nor Section 504 requires an assistance animal to be individually trained or certified.” Don’t trust generic questionnaires for whether or not an emotional support animal (ESA) would benefit you. Speak with your psychiatrist and ask whether she/he believes an ESA could provide assistance with your treatment (managing your symptoms). If she/he affirms this, ask for a letter/document that you can then show when asking for reasonable accommodations.

  2. I NEED HOW TO GET LETTER FROM MY DOCTOR TO SEND TO OWNER OF APARTMENTS I LIVE IN TO BE ABLE TO HAVE AN EMOTIONAL SUPPORT DOG DUE TO MY ANXIETY TREATMENT FOR OVER TEN YEARS

  3. I don’t have to pay anything for my dog to be my emotional support dog I read and found all you need for an emotional support dog is a note/letter written and signed by your doctor and that’s it no training and no cost to make them an emotional support dog, so charging like this site does is stupid and just taking advantage of people

  4. How dare you provide people with “exceptions to the rule” so they don’t have to pay a pet deposit, pet fee, or anything similar? People already take advantage of this system by registering pets that do not act as emotional support animals, and providing more information for them to do so is immoral!

    1. Please contact the company you will be traveling with. Although not covered by the Air Carrier Access Act, many transportation companies do abide be the same rules as airlines voluntarily.

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