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Emotional Support Animal FAQ

emotional support animal questionsWhen it comes to emotional support animals, or “ESA’s” -there’s no shortage of questions to ask, or misinformation to wade through. Here, we’ll attempt to answer the most frequently asked questions and to clear up the most common misconceptions concerning emotional support animals. If you still have any unanswered questions after reading the articles below, please send them to [email protected] and we’ll be sure to add them to our list.

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal (ESA) is a pet that provides companionship to a person who suffers from symptoms of a mental or emotional disability. Learn more here.

How to get an Emotional Support Animal?

In order to qualify for an emotional support animal, you need a letter from a licensed mental health professional which outlines your need for the animal. Getting an emotional support animal letter used to be tedious but CertaPet has streamlined the entire process. Moreover, CertaPet is the only HIPPA Compliant website that can give you a certified ESA letter. Learn more here.

How to get an Emotional Support Dog?

Dogs are often preferred over other animals to serve as ESAs by both therapists and patients. If you are thinking about getting an emotional support dog letter and have specific questions, this article should be able to answer them. Learn more here.

What are the benefits of having an Emotional Support Animal?

Having an ESA comes with many benefits, such as being able to live with and even fly with your animal on commercial airlines free of charge. Learn more here.

Does my ESA need an Emotional Support Animal Vest?

A person who is assisted by an emotional support animal must have a properly formatted letter from a licensed mental health professional.

That’s all.

The ESA letter must state that the animal’s handler has an emotional or mental disability identified in the DSM V, and that the animal helps mitigate specific symptoms of the handler’s disability.

The letter is all that is required.

To reiterate however, an ESA vest made of a brightly-colored fabric, such as red or orange will help identify your pet as an emotional support animal.

Learn more here.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act?

The Americans with Disabilities Act does not specifically address emotional support animals and primarily addresses Service Animals. Learn more here.

What is the Fair Housing Act?

Emotional support animals are protected under the Fair Housing Act, which prevents landlords from discriminating against people with disabilities. Learn more here.

What is Air Carrier Access Act?

The Air Carrier Access Act protects owners of emotional support animals from discrimination by commercial airlines, and allows them to bring their ESA’s in the cabin of the aircraft free of charge, even if the airline does not normally allow pets. Learn more here.

Should I use an Emotional Support Animal Registration Service?

There are plenty of websites who claim to ‘register’ of ‘certify’ your emotional support animal. Should you use such a service? Find the detailed answer in this article. Learn more here.

Comments 227

  1. Our tenant is requestiing an emotional support dog in her “no pet apartment”. She says that her
    husband can take care of the dog during the day while she is at work. Isn’t this “support dog” needed
    to be with person all day, or is her stress not at work but at home! Any guide lines on time spent with owner?

    1. It sounds like you’re thinking of a service dog. A service dog is trained to assist a person with a disability, and must perform tasks specific to that disability (e.g. A mobility assistance dog braces so his owner can use him as a crutch). Service dogs are allowed public access, emotional support animals however, are not. This is because an ESA comforts a person with a disability, but is not trained to perform tasks. So it’s actually most likely your tenant is not allowed to bring her ESA to work her, even if she wanted to, because this is not a service animal. For landlords, an important difference to keep in mind is that service dogs are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, while ESAs only have rights under fair housing laws. I suggest you research your state’s fair housing laws to learn more about your tenant’s rights to keep an ESA, as well as your rights as her landlord.

  2. Hello, I have undertaken your test and qualify. However I stopped short of ordering the letter as (1) I am based in the uk and (2) I will be flying from the uk. Will either of these factors affect the validity of the letter as far as the airline is concerned?
    Also, I am not due to fly for approx 6 months so it may be better to obtain your letter (subject to the above) nearer the time?

    1. Yes. All letters need to renewed annually to identify any potential changes in your needs. This is federally mandated and any site claiming otherwise should be viewed as a scam.

  3. Can i own a dog that isn’t normally allowed where i live? My trailer park i live in doesn’t allow Pit Bulls(not necessarily getting one) , and i’m wonder if one being registered as a ESA would over ride that. and would weight limits be negated too?

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