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, stress, etc…  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 of having an Emotional Support Animal. 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 you way to having your very own ESA. You can even take a free screening to see if you qualify!

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

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.

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 33

  1. Diana Rosales

    I was wondering about hotels and motels does the EAS letter stop them from not allowing the pets in their establishment.

    1. David

      Diana,
      Although regulation differs state to state, in general the answer is unfortunately no. Motel and Hotels are not subject to the Fair Housing Act.

  2. Audra Dowell

    My daughter has an ESA, and he’s a 5 lb. poodle. Her first semester at college (2 hrs. away from home) almost killed me because she was having such a difficult time adjusting to college. I had to drive there about 6 times the first semester and was exhausted from going there to comfort her and trying to work. One day I realized that since the age of 6, she has slept with the dog, he sat with her doing homework, etc. I asked her doctor if he could initiate the process to get him certified. This was the BEST decision that I’ve ever made! No more 3 a.m. hysterical calls. She has since transferred to the college where she really wanted to go, and her brother is there. The only problem is that her roommate has a lab, and the hair and dander has made my daughter’s allergies go crazy. She has been taking Mucinex, Flonase, and Zyrtec. If the dog is “truly” an ESA, the roommate is also protected by law. We’ve always had poodles for that reason and bathe them regularly so that no one else has to suffer from our dogs, nor do we. Good luck with your situation. I love helping and saving animals, put my allergies kill me if dog hair or cats are involved.

  3. Sue Enoch

    You can adopt a pet and not buy it. Multiple shelters here help choose an emo dog and train the dog with basic manners and obedience. My last job had 2 es dogs for 2 different people.

  4. Lea

    I don’t have a dog yet but I am planning on getting one. Do I need to know the dog breed, weight, age, etc. before the letter is written? Just wondering if I should wait until after I buy a dog.

    1. David

      If you qualify, we do offer an option for people who would benefit from an ESA but do not yet have one. Your Licensed Mental Health Professional you will be paired with will be help you along the process.

  5. Diane Dutcher

    It doesn’t seem I can get many advantages. I own my home & rarelybtravel.
    But can I deduct vet expenses / shots and that sort of thing on my income tax. I wouldn’t deduct food,

  6. B. L. Gray

    I often travel on the train. I see that trains and buses aren’t included. Is there any exception on Amtrak? They have a special area for disabled passengers. They don’t take dogs in the luggage area, only small pets in the cabin (under 20 lbs). I don’t know how to even get my dog to my destination other than to drive. I’m 68 and that doesn’t seem wise. I genuinely need, not just want, my dog with me. Would he have to be a trained service dog on the train?

  7. Mike

    My college daughter has asthma. Dogs being one of the trigger. One of her house mates tried to bring in a emotional support,knowing of my daughters medical problem. My daughter ended up at a Doctor’s having a hard time breathing. Who has the legal standing my daughter to breath or the girl with the emotional dog? Does anybody had any thoughts as it is a lot of money to get out of the apartment complex contract and move.

    1. Destiny

      I have asthma and did allergy testing and found our im allergic to dogs . thought it was gonna be a problem. its not. I take clartin for allergies and most other triggers and symbicort as an asthma regulator. my asthma doctor said most people with severe asthma take something anyways. Its helpful for more than dogs. i went from in e.r . multiple times in a month to a few times in a year.

    2. Tifiney Harkins

      Your daughter and her housemate both have equal rights. The only thing I can think of is to limit the dog to the handlers room and not in common areas.

  8. Suzy

    I just picked out a sheltie pup. I had one when I was married thirteen years ago. My md is writing a letter that I will carry with me. I am on disability fir aniexty and depression. The breeder said it will do well in an apartment. Try to read a book about training them to do potty outside.

  9. Donna Clayton

    Years ago I owned a Sheltie, and I have also had a Lab. Additionally, I have always wanted a Golden Retriever. Would any one of these breeds be acceptable in an apartment as well? I recently went thru a divorce and very much want a support dog; however, I generally prefer Lab’s and Golden Retriever’s.

    1. Tifiney Harkins

      any breed can be an esa or a service dog and your landlord can’t charge you a deposit or rent. If the complex isn’t pet-friendly they can’t deny you because of the dog.

  10. Sue Grooms

    The person who told me about this told me she got a voulcher to purchase her dog with but I have seen nothing to suggest this yet! So far the only benefit I see is your letter can helps renters allow them to keep a dog when rules say no dogs. And you can fly with you pet in the cabin with you at no charge. Neither one of these benefits is anything that would apply to me. But the person who told me about this said you also help in helping us purchase one of these dogs! Thats is what I am interested in and any future help with vet bills. Do you help with that?

    1. Tifiney Harkins

      There are low-income vets. The vulture usually covers the cost of spaying or neutering at an approved vet. I use spay and neuter Los Angles a lot. They have wellness clinics the only thing is hours vary by location.

  11. Sonja Danese Jr.

    I’m in a bad situation and I need to no if I go for housing to the women’s ywca in Schenectady ny will they deny me because of my emotional support dog. Hes a very well behaved miniature Fox terrier

  12. Bob Lowe

    This is amazing! I like the idea that I may be able to qualify my pet to be a ESA. That would be really nice to be able to take my pet places that they wouldn’t normally be able to go. I’m sure they need to be certified, and probably trained as well. How would I go about doing that?

    1. Tifiney Harkins

      ESA don’t have public access rights. The only things an ESA is protected from is flying in the cabin with you and landlords can’t charge a pet deposit or rent for an ESA.

  13. Paul

    does your letter come with an expiration like other companies? Also my apartment complex has a form they want the doctor to fill out, would you be able to fill that out along with my purchase of the product?

    1. Barbara

      Check the laws in your state. In my state, Hippa provides that as long as you have the letter from your health care provider, the landlord can ask nothing else about your “condition”.

  14. amber

    im wandering if this letter will also work for a therapy dog. however my dog is only around for my comfort i already rgistered her but im not sure if i should reregister her as a esa or if the esa letter will work for us.

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