how to get a companion dog

2017 Update: How to Get an Emotional Support Animal

Emotional Support Dog Certification

Are You Wondering How to Get an Emotional Support Dog or Other ESA?

Well, if you’re one of the estimated 61.5 million Americans (one-in-four) who will suffer from a mental or emotional disability this year, AND you have an animal that helps alleviate your symptoms…

You may already have one.

In case you didn’t know, an Emotional Support Animal is a pet that helps alleviate symptoms of a mental or emotional disability through companionship and affection.

Unlike most types of assistance animals, such as service dogs, ESAs are not required to have any kind of specialized training or experience.

Here’s what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has to say:

“The Department’s position has been that animals necessary as a reasonable accommodation do not necessarily need to have specialized training. Some animals perform tasks that require training, and others provide assistance that does not require training.”

Moreover, Emotional Support Animal certification isn’t limited to just companion dogs.

People have used emotional support cats, pigs and even miniature horses as Emotional Support Animals.

See If You Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

Emotional Support Cat Laying Down

Emotional Support Animal Certification

In order to enjoy the benefits of having an ESA, all you need is an official Emotional Support Animal Letter written by a Licensed Mental Health Professional (LMHP), such as a Psychiatrist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or Psychologist.

So long as you pass our screening, based on questions from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)you can get a prescription for an Emotional Support Animal.

Unlike most other places you can get an ESA letter online, ours meets all requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, other Emotional Support Animal laws and is 100% HIPAA compliant.

An ESA Letter from CertaPet provides:

  • Recognition that you are a patient under a licensed mental health professional’s care for a mental or emotional disability.
  • Verification that you are significantly limited by a disability, such as depression or a similar condition, affecting your mental well-being.
  • Prescription for an emotional support dog (also known as a companion dog), or other support animal, as a necessary reinforcement for your mental health.

To get your ESA Letter online, all you need to do is take a free 5-minute screening which will determine your eligibility for an ESA dog, ESA cat, or other animal today. We have helped thousands of people with 

The brief questionnaire is completely confidential and only takes a few minutes to complete.

Find out if you qualify by clicking below:

See If You Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

2017 Update: Are Emotional Support Animal Registration Sites Legitimate?

We’re often asked if ESA registration sites are real.

The answer is NO. There is no such thing as an Emotional Support Animal registry.

To make it clear, the ONLY way for people to qualify for emotional support animals is an ESA Letter from a Licensed Mental Health Professional. This is what we do!

If you see a site claiming to be a “national service animal registry,” “emotional support dog registration,” “official service dog registry,” or a “US service dog registry” they are tricking you and you should avoid them. Unfortunately, we have many stories of customers who first went to a registry only to find that they had spent $150 for a “fake” document.

Service Dog Registration

Confusion Between Emotional Support Animals and Service Animals

To make matters worse, registries often (deliberately?) confuse Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals.

While an Emotional Support Animal helps alleviate symptoms of a mental or emotional disability through companionship and affection, a Service Animal is any animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

While an ESA can be any animal that provides companionship to the owner, a Service Animal is specifically trained to perform tasks. A Service Animal may enter private establishments like a grocery store or restaurant while an ESA may not. ESA owners are advised to follow the laws, respect their surroundings and absolutely not try to pass off their animal as a ‘Service Animal’.

We hope this helps clear up any confusion around Emotional Support Animals and why you should only use sites, like CertaPet, that connect you with licensed mental health professionals.

difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal

Difference Between an Emotional Support Animal and a Service Animal

If you have any questions or are about to use a emotional support dog registration site please contact us first at (877) 207-0561 🙂

Can I Find Emotional Support Dogs for Sale?

While the idea might sound great, it is not actually possible to buy a dog that is readily designated as an emotional support animal by a licensed mental health professional.

An ESA letter is awarded to a patient with a mental disability, not to an animal. If the therapist believes that the patient’s current pet is providing vital mental support that is necessary to the patient’s well-being, he/she will likely designate the existing pet as the patient’s emotional support animal. In case the patient does not have a pet yet, the therapist will advise him/her to get a pet that can provide much needed mental support, and the newly acquired pet will be designated as an ESA.

An ESA dog letter or Emotional support animal prescription will typically include name of the patient plus details about the animal (name of the animal, breed type, etc) and will also mention that the licensed mental health professional believes that the designated animal is critical to the mental well-being of the patient in question.

Please note that an emotional support animal does not have to have any prior training and do not have to be registered or licensed anywhere. A letter from a licensed mental health professional is all you need.

Get Your ESA Certification (ESA Letter) Today

Take CertaPet’s 5 minute survey to see if you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal. It is free!

See If You Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

Update: How to Ask your Doctor for An Emotional Support Animal Letter?

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recognizes the benefits of emotional support animals and has passed regulations allowing ESA owners to live in most non-pet housing without requiring to pay a pet deposit, or a monthly pet fee. The US Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) enables ESA owners to fly with their pet in-cabin without requiring to pay any extra fee. As more patients with valid ESA needs are becoming aware of the regulations and their benefits, it is very likely that a mental health counsellor is already aware of the needs and benefits of an emotional support animal and will happily issue a ESA letter for any patient that qualifies for one.

So if you are significantly limited by a disability and believe that an ESA dog or any other sort of ESA will help with your mental well-being, feel free to confidently approach your doctor requesting to write a letter for you.

If you are not seeing a doctor or a licensed metal health professional, CertaPet is always here for you! Let us get you connected with a LMHP today, and you could receive your ESA letter in as little as 48 hours!

Comments 133

  1. April

    I’m not sure how any of this works, I have very high social and generalized anxiety. I can’t go outside to even check the mail without my dog, I am also legally blind and I have absolutely no Independence. I would like to be able to walk around, go to stores and do just about anything by myself. My dog helps me with my emotional issues, I feel safe with her, I can talk to people as long as she’s there but I’ve always assumed I couldn’t take her out to public places. I know service animals are allowed everywhere but ESA are not? I would like to have any kind of Independence and take some of the load off of the people who essentially take care of me. I’ve heard ESA animals can go into places but others say they can’t. Can anyone clear this up?

    1. David

      Hi April,
      Unfortunately, this often varies according to state. You would have to search for the specific laws in your state related to Emotional Support Animals. All states are required to abide by the federal laws affecting ESAs: Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act, but they can have additional laws stating your rights in some cases as well.

  2. Scottie

    I have a dog that gives me a lot of emotional support and I see that you say that other sites or false how do I know that this one is not too because I really don’t have a lot of money to spend for this and I don’t want to be conned

    1. Post
  3. Shauna

    Hi my mom is listed disabled and ahe suffers from chronic depression, and anxiety. She is in mental health and see hee primary often. She just came out of a 4 year relationship that messed her up more. Ive offered her landlord a deposite so she can have a pet to help her. He refused so if i get her a ESA letter can she be evicted?

  4. Chris

    You’ve never suffered from a “real” mental illness or PTSD have you?! I have both AND I do take care of my dog and any accidents he has (so far none). Please don’t put all ESAs in one box for the fault of a few.

    1. David Jameson

      It is unlawful for a landlord to refuse to rent or sell to a person simply because of a disability. The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. However, are are some exceptions to the law. The Fair Housing Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family housing sold or rented without the use of a broker, and housing operated by organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members. Unless your housing provider fits into those exceptions, it is unlawful for them to deny you. I hope this answers your question, if you need more information please feel free to call our support team at ((877)207-0561.

  5. WyLynn

    Ok so I have major anxiety and depression all of the both sided comments is confusing and conflicting for me.

    I have a doctors note for my dog to be my esa dog she has never had training she just naturally does what I need her to do to help me with the anxiety and depression. One side says that she has to be trained and the other says she doesn’t. She has never destroyed store property or ever had an accident in a store either but that might be do to the fact that I’m terrified to take her with me to places so instead I put my mental amd emotional health at risk because people are taking advantage of this opportunity provided to me amd its destructive and degrading how selfish and narrow minded some of you people are.

    I do understand that my dog is one of the largest breeds available in this world which instills some scepticism, but you have to understand that she is the size she is so she can lay on me and prevent self destructive behaviour she has to be able to hold me up if I start to have a panic attack because when I have panic attacks I sometimes stop breathing and she will prevent them from getting that bad or if its not that bad she will support me until I get my breath back. I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there who need to do basic manners on their dog but degrading all esa dogs is just unnecessary and rude.

    I’ve had a strong bond with my dog from day one and I need support from people because I hardly leave my house now because I’m scared to take her with me and the looks I get when I do take her with me it hard to do so. If you have any useful info for me I’d be greatful. Thank you

  6. susette

    If you are on certain medications and apply for a job, YOU HAVE TO HAVE YOUR PRESCRIPTION with you if or when you have a drug test. So how is it discrimination if you need to have one for your emotional support?

    1. CertaPet

      Hello Susette,
      Thanks for commenting! You are correct, in order to have your Emotional Support Animal in your rental property or on a flight with you, an individual must have the proper documentation. The ESA letter is a prescription written by a Licensed Mental Health Professional, recommending an emotional support animal as a way to alleviate a disability-related need. It is discrimination if a landlord refuses to accept your ESA even when you have the proper legal documentation. I hope this information helps, if you have any more questions feel free to reach out via phone at (877)207-0561 or at [email protected].

  7. Cassandra

    Where I left the apartment requires insurance additional. I’ve been told I don’t need it as long as I get documents of my dog being an emotional pet

    1. CertaPet

      Hello Cassandra! Unfortunately, we do not have that information but I would recommend talking to your insurance company to confirm what their policies are. Based on the Fair Housing Act, when you have the proper documentation (an ESA Letter) you are not required to pay pet fees or pet deposits. Emotional Support Animals are considered reasonable accommodation in the eyes of the law, not “pets”. Therefore ESAs are not subjected to pet policies (such as pet fees). I hope this information is useful. If you have any more questions feel free to contact us.

    1. Margaret Brooks

      Hi Jason,

      An ESA may definitely help you! Please go through our screening process or contact our friendly support team if you have any questions: (877) 207-0561

  8. Jimmy

    All you need is a badge to identify the animal as a service dog.

    The reason more “proof” isn’t required is because the last thing a person who NEEDS an emotional support animal should have to deal with is having to go around and defend/explain their disability while trying to go about their day. That’s humiliating, stressful, and unnecessary.

    Emotional support animals do not need to perform physical tasks a physical disability would need because they are there for EMOTIONAL services.

    1. CertaPet

      Hi Jimmy, thanks for reaching out! The only legal requirement for an Emotional Support Animal is a letter signed licensed mental health professional. Asking probing questions or demanding more information regarding your mental or emotional disability is unlawful.

  9. Jorge

    I myself have an iguana that is a help, she had a lot of hard work to get her where she is today. I now have no leash on her as I walk my everyday walk . She is very great with people as well. I’m in the middle of getting her certified & my doctor is helping me out as well , no doubt that it will happen for you. We as human need what is best for us to be who we are meant to be .
    For us , service animals help us meet that criteria of being who we are meant to be . Thank God for good doctors with understanding knowledge for our conditions

  10. Toni L

    The Americans with Disabilities Act states that no person shall be questioned for the purpose or use of an emotional support or service dog nor have to carry or be asked to display or provide any documentation at various establishments they may visit other than their domicile if they are in a no pet multi family residence.

  11. Louise McClay

    My husband and I have two dogs. The one started out as purely emotional support as he was severely depressed because of some medical events he had experienced just prior to obtaining the dog.

    She is now considered a service dog as she alerts when his medical becomes off balance. For instance his blood sugar dropping or his Post Sepsis Syndrome acting up. If they are outside she will bring him back to the house and inside. If inside she will jump up in my chair, bark, etc to get my attention that something is wrong. Once she has my attention she will run to him and back to me until I go to him.

    When we are out together we leave her home because she is not always good with her public manners. However when we go out we are together and alert so I can easily see the signs of trouble as they happen.

    Without the service she gives I would never sleep because I would constantly be afraid of what is happening with my husband.

    Just today I spoke with someone who claimed the dog they had was an emotional support dog, they had it in the store and said they had paid almost 60 to have it registered. All we have is a letter from the Doctor originally saying she was emotional support. It is only after two to three years of her constantly alerting to the subtle changes that the Doctor now considers her a Service Dog.

    People need to be more responsible

    1. CertaPet

      Hi Louise. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s great to hear of a service dog providing meaningful support for their owner. With regard to your encounter with an emotional support animal in a store, based on the law ESAs are only allowed in housing and on domestic flights. ESAs are not entitled to the same public access rights that service animals are, and those who take their ESA to public places without the consent of the store or facility owners are not following the legal rules for ESAs. We are always trying to educate our customers on where they are allowed to take ESA and where they are not. Again, thank you for reaching out and we appreciate your feedback.

  12. chrissy chapman

    Almost lover
    6 APRIL, 2017 AT 10:19 AM
    For those asking:
    -Almost any animal can be an emotional support animal (ESA), as long as it provides you with the ability to function better with it, than without it.

    -Your current pet can be an ESA, if it provides you with emotional support.

    -There is no special training for an ESA, as it simply needs to provide emotional support by being with you. However, it does need to be potty trained, non-aggressive, non-disruptive (no noises or behaviors that disturb others), & under your control at all times. In other words, an animal who won’t bother anyone & can be basically “invisible”, with the exception of people noticing you have an animal with you.

    -No identification, registration or tags are required, other than your state/county requirements

    -You must have a doctor’s recommendation on their letterhead saying you would benefit from an ESA, due to a mental health issue. Mental health problems that qualify would be major depression, panic attacks, social anxiety, agoraphobia, BiPolar disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia, & other mental health diagnoses that prevent you from comfortably leaving your home or interacting with the public. Liking to hang our with your pet is NOT equivalent to needing an ESA.

    -An ESA is NOT a service animal. It does not have the same rights as a service animal, unless it is specifically trained to perform an act that’s related to your illness. For instance, an animal who stops self destructive behaviors, an animal who leads a person having a panic attack to a safe place, an animal who senses & prevents a panic attack. These are commonly animals used for people suffering from PTSD & panic attacks.

    -Passing off your pet as an ESA or a service animal is against the law (misdemeanor). You can be fined & you make it more difficult for disabled people who have a legitimate reason for a service animal to gain access to places they wouldn’t otherwise be able to go. You have to ask yourself, if you were unable to go anywhere without your dog (it’s your eyes, ears, limbs, etc), how would you feel if others made that harder for you to go through life, just so they can have their pet with them, and do you want to be THAT person? I would hope the answer is no. It’s hard enough to have a disability. Please, don’t make it harder.

  13. Sharon Farr

    I am an animal lover, but I see too many people taking advantage of stores and restaurants accepting emotional support pets. Technically, an emotional support dog should be on a leash at all times, not in a bag or a purse (as I have seen numerous times). Also, since it is to be prescribed by a physician, then shouldn’t the people that claim they are in possession of emotional support dogs or pets carry their prescription with them at all times? They should because it is prescribed and just like people that are taking prescribed medications have to keep their pills in the original bottles, especially when flying.

    There are too many fly-by-night places that will just hand out a certificate stating that their pet is an emotional support pet which is wrong! It mares against the people that really needs canine companions for independent living. CCI dogs are trained and screened very carefully and placed with the people that need them the most. I have seen the training for myself as my sister does train these dogs for one year before they are to graduate to the next phase of training in being more specialized for specific purposes. I have also seen and heard of horror stories about emotional support dogs dropping their feces and piddling on the floors of establishments and the owners just say “Oops” and not clean it up or take care of things. They have also torn apart seat cushions and such in restaurants and then the owners just leave. Either these dogs are to either stay at home, be put in a kennel when out in public, or find something else to use as emotional support! No one person should need to have their pets in these places if they cannot do a service, by service I refer to the pet either picking something up off the floor or shelf, leading the blind, opening doors, turning on lights, etc. for the owner, otherwise leave the dog at home!

    1. David W. McDaniel

      They are not “prescribed” like a pill by a doctor, and, while I am sure there are those that do take advantage of the law I am also certain it is relatively few. However, yes, they should be leashed or harnessed. Under the ADA, there are only two questions which may legally be asked:

      1. Is the service animal required because of disability?
      2. What work or task has it been trained to perform?

      An Emotional Support Therapy animal may be trained to assist those with Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder or a similar disability to calm down when a panic attack is coming on…in this case, the dog would not be opening a door or picking something up from the floor as you suggest. As for your stories of dogs misbehaving, in that case the establishment owner is well within their legal rights to request the animal be removed. No offense, but you seem to have a great deal to learn.

    2. Deb

      I agree, something bad is going to happen and it’s going to ruin it for the folks who need it and do the work and it’s work of training the pet for the job!

    3. Mimi Fairweather

      Madam, you are a clearly a low information person who does not understand the stress and how difficult it is to live with an emotional or mental disability. It is your perogative to harbor such strong views about something that you do not understand but is absolutely unkind of you to post such opinions on a public forum.
      You only show how ignorant you are about how important these animals can be to a person who has social, emotional, or mental problems and needs the comfort that a warm loving animal can give them. If you believe that this is a scam you should consider yourself blessed that you do not suffer from depression or any of the other horrible conditions that may merit the companionship of a support animal. You might do well to educate yourself on such matters. That being said, from the tone of your message I have discerned that you just may have some anger management issues yourself and I would suggest that you see someone about that.
      As to the question of —“I have also seen and heard of horror stories about emotional support dogs dropping their feces and piddling on the floors of establishments and the owners just say “Oops” and not clean it up or take care of things. They have also torn apart seat cushions and such in restaurants and then the owners just leave.” —- I believe that you have NOT seen this and I further believe that you have made this up out of whole cloth.

      It may be true that SOME people may have SOME animals that defecate or void on a floor due to nervousness or being not allowed to walk outside and people who choose not to clean up after their animal but I am CERTAIN that this is the exception and NOT the rule.

      Your message has upset me to the point that I may have to start a group to educate unfeeling people like you about depression and other hideious issues that may led to the need for an emotional support animal and how important the animals are to those who need them.

      Lastly I would say that I hope that you never have an issue that people say is bogus and tell you that whatever it is that you need to relieve your pain is a scam. It is extremely hurtful.

      1. Pearce

        WELL said MIMI. Thank you for representing those of us in need of an emotional support dog. I have no tolerance for ignorance.

    1. CertaPet

      Hi Maria! Thanks for taking the time to reach out to us! Our turnaround time is around 1-2 business days. It’s during those 1 to 2 business days that a therapist will look over your assessment.

      Hope this helps!

  14. LizardLove

    I have a bearded dragon that helps me immensely. Whenever my anxiety gets out of control and my depression spirals out of control, I hold and pet him until I calm down. The different textures help to ground my mind. The only problem is I keep him hidden as reptiles aren’t allowed. My counselor is willing to help me out, but I need to make sure first, is he eligible to be an ESA? And how exactly does the letter need to be written? And where would it need to be sent?

    1. CertaPet

      Yes, an ESA can be any pet you feel a special connection with 🙂 The letter, signed by a licensed mental health professional, is the only thing that is legally recognized. The letter must be on their letterhead and it needs to explain how the ESA alleviates a disability-related need. Once you have a letter from your counselor, you will not need to send your letter to Certapet.

      Below is a resource which outlines what ESA’s are and what they apply to. It also includes a sample letter of what needs to be included in the letter.

      Hope this helps!

  15. Ashley schwarz

    Could you help me further get go the goal of registering my dog as emotional support for myself. I really wouldn’t like to be scammed and I do believe you know what you are talking about.

    1. CertaPet

      Hi Ashely, thanks for reaching out to us! Send us an email at [email protected] and we will be more than happy to help you figure out the next steps. Or feel free to call us at (877)207-0561 if you’d like to speak to one of our support team members.

  16. Almost lover

    Cecil, you need to search areas in your city that have those types of birds, unless you can afford to purchase one online.

  17. Almost lover

    You need to search your city for service dog trainers who can train the dog to your son’s specific needs. Or, you can obtain a dog and train it yourself.

  18. Almost lover

    You’re landlord cannot say an ESA is not allowed, as long as you have your doctor’s recommendation & the dog is licensed through your county.

  19. Almost lover

    For those asking:
    -Almost any animal can be an emotional support animal (ESA), as long as it provides you with the ability to function better with it, than without it.

    -Your current pet can be an ESA, if it provides you with emotional support.

    -There is no special training for an ESA, as it simply needs to provide emotional support by being with you. However, it does need to be potty trained, non-aggressive, non-disruptive (no noises or behaviors that disturb others), & under your control at all times. In other words, an animal who won’t bother anyone & can be basically “invisible”, with the exception of people noticing you have an animal with you.

    -No identification, registration or tags are required, other than your state/county requirements

    -You must have a doctor’s recommendation on their letterhead saying you would benefit from an ESA, due to a mental health issue. Mental health problems that qualify would be major depression, panic attacks, social anxiety, agoraphobia, BiPolar disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia, & other mental health diagnoses that prevent you from comfortably leaving your home or interacting with the public. Liking to hang our with your pet is NOT equivalent to needing an ESA.

    -An ESA is NOT a service animal. It does not have the same rights as a service animal, unless it is specifically trained to perform an act that’s related to your illness. For instance, an animal who stops self destructive behaviors, an animal who leads a person having a panic attack to a safe place, an animal who senses & prevents a panic attack. These are commonly animals used for people suffering from PTSD & panic attacks.

    -Passing off your pet as an ESA or a service animal is against the law (misdemeanor). You can be fined & you make it more difficult for disabled people who have a legitimate reason for a service animal to gain access to places they wouldn’t otherwise be able to go. You have to ask yourself, if you were unable to go anywhere without your dog (it’s your eyes, ears, limbs, etc), how would you feel if others made that harder for you to go through life, just so they can have their pet with them, and do you want to be THAT person? I would hope the answer is no. It’s hard enough to have a disability. Please, don’t make it harder.

  20. Almost lover

    The people who are thinking “great, now I can have a pet & not pay any fees” aren’t understanding the law. Even ESA are not “pets”. They provide a service & are listed as “medical equipment”, which is how they are excluded from laws regarding pets. It’s wrong & illegal to say your pet is an ESA , simply bcuz you like taking it places with you. As ESA is NEEDED for a mental health issue, & by claiming your animal provides emotional support bcuz you prefer to be together dilutes the validity of those who have serious medical/emotional/psychological issues that are alleviated by having an animal with them. There’s already enough stigma regarding mental health. Don’t be an a$$hole & contribute to the problem by taking advantage of a law that suits your preferences. It makes you a criminal & a shitty person.

    As for registering a service animal or an ESA, there’s no need/requirement to do so. There is no federal registration process (yet). I’m unsure if there are state registrations, but I know there isn’t one in CA. These websites who sell vests, cards, tags, etc are simply businesses taking advantage of a niche to make money. There are no requirements (yet) to identify your animal. With all the “fake” service animals & ESA, & bcuz some people are just shady, there are people who are currently lobbying to make the guidelines stricter, so we will be required to register our animals & possibly show identification in the form of an ID or tags. Until then, don’t waste your money, unless you want to. The cards/vests/registration sites mean nothing, under the law.

    1. Kiara

      I take pills for my anxiety, but when I have to have surgery and in the hospital my anxiety goes up, my stomach starts to hurt, and I start shaking, my hands start sweating. And my anxiety don’t make right decisions for health. I find that when I around dogs I’m totally relaxed. Now I’m wondering can have a family protection dog as a service dog for my anxiety. Now understand these dog are easily controlled when completely trained. But will when sameone the eating try harm me will. But It easy to call the dog back. But if I can’t then I’ll go for an Italian Greyhound ESD.

    2. Pearce

      There is a web site that I just looked through and it takes you through a series of questions to see if I am qualified for an ESA. At the end of the questions it requires you to pay a fee for evaluation. The fees vary according to the level of certification you want. Is this legit?

    1. CertaPet

      Hi there! Thanks for reaching out! Sites that simply place your ESA on a registry or send you a certificate do not meet the legal requirements for an ESA based on the FHA and Air Carriers Access Act. Certapet is an online platform that connects people with therapists who are qualified to write these prescription (or “doctor”) letters. Our customers have a consultation with a licensed mental health professional and if they are approved, the therapist will write them an ESA letter. Certapet is not a registry service nor does it provide certificates, we help connect customers with qualified therapists who can prescribe them a valid ESA letter. I hope this clear things up but if you still have questions or concerns feel free to reach out to us!

    2. RottieMom

      All you need is a note from your doctor, no registration online nothing. Any website that’s says you need to register are scams and just want your money.

  21. Chris

    I love that you can register the animal of your choice as an Emotional Support Animal. For people like me who bond with a particular breed, it is essential that I be allowed to have my Malamute. My first Malamute saved my life as a teenager. I shut down in the worst way and he pulled me threw it. Now I bond with Malamutes in a way that is far more productive for me then any other breed would provide for me.

    However! My roommate is a completely different story. He has never had a dog of his own and is timid by nature. Because you can register any breed, he got himself a German Shepherd because he thought they looked cool. Problem now is, the dog ignores him. He is not getting the emotional support he needs. The dog’s lack of attention is causing more damage then good.

    I have been looking for a service that trains and can pair a support animal to an owner. Some place that can ask questions and find out what breed will be best for his lifestyle and what he expects to get out of the animal. I would greatly appreciate some incite. “Whatever dog you feel is best for you” is just not going to cut it as an answer. He needs someone who knows the dogs and can help him pick the right dog.

    1. CertaPet

      Hi Chris! Thanks for sharing your experience with your ESA. In regard to your friend, we recommend that you seek more specialized help in your area. Maybe visiting a local dog trainer or animal shelter can give you more insight into what type of breed would be best for your friend. I hope this information helps!

  22. Diana

    Hi, my therapist thinks it’s a good idea to make my dog an emotional support dog. Exactly how do I go about making him one. Do I need to register at a specific place. I live in NYC. Does it cost anything to make him one? I have looked at other sites and have seen them trying to charge at least $80+. Thank you

    1. CertaPet

      Hi Diana! Thanks for reaching out! A letter, signed by a licensed mental health professional, is the only thing that is legally recognized and all you need. Registries, vest, ID Cards and tags are just accessories. The cost depends on how you get your ESA letter. If you go through your therapist you will have to pay their price, if you go through certapet you will have to pay our consultation price. Send us an email at [email protected] and one of our team members can walk you through the process and give you more details on our payment options.

  23. Anita Urban

    If i qualify your questions,how do i get the letter? I would like to get a maltese for to help me. Im not doing good since my little Tanner passed away 5 months ago. My best friend passed 2weeks after him,then my aunt. Thanksgiving i lost my long time boyfriend. I cant function. Wirhout Tanner I rock. Please i need a companion maltese from where? Shelter? Thank you.

    1. Ana Smith

      Shelters are great places to look. If you do not find the right dog immediately, keep going back and looking every few weeks, and watch the website as they should keep a list of the dogs available.

  24. Ally

    Brief background: I am no longer seeing a psychiatrist, don’t believe/trust in medication much as I was over medicated as a child to point where my blood levels were toxic every time I got blood work, but have been diagnosed with many things such as ptsd, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, seizures, and a few other things as well. Still have bad down periods and I had animals growing up and looking back I can see how they helped me with dealing in my home life. I just happened upon an article about emotional support dogs and thought it might help me. Also took the test and it told me i would be a good candidate.

    Here are the questions:
    Will it not be possible to get a support dog if i don’t regularly go to a psychiatrist?
    Do i have to have a recommendation and be a good candidate on the test?

    1. CertaPet

      Hi Ally, CertaPet is a technology and telehealth platform that connects patients, who are seeking recommendation letters for emotional support animals, to licensed mental health professionals that can evaluate them and determine whether or not they qualify for an emotional support animal. Visiting a psychiatrist regularly is not a requirement for the CertaPet process. We agree in the long-term value of psychotherapy. In fact, a large number of the clients who come to us for support might choose to pursue counseling with their CertaPet therapist. I hope this helps address some of your concerns. If you need additional information please contact us directly at (877)207-0561.

  25. Amber

    Any animal is aloud to be an ESA I’m not sure about the landlord but my cousin has a German shepherd ESA So that is no problem as long as he/she is not aggressive with people or other animals it will be just fine

    1. CertaPet

      Hi Amber,
      Yes, you are correct. Any animal that you have a special connection with can be an ESA. However, even though they do not need professional training like service dogs, we always tell our customers that they need to make sure their dogs are well-behaved on a flight and in their rental properties. Any disturbance or damage an ESA creates is the responsibility of the owner.

  26. Rebecca

    Hello, my name is Rebecca and my daughter Isabella is depressed with anxiety. She needs companionship, so she needs a dog, however our landlord is adament about no dog. If I purchased a license for an emotional support animal, would she be able to have a dog?

    1. Brie

      The Fair Housing Act (FHA) disallows anyone with an ESA to be rejected housing due to the animal, as long as you have the proper documentation showing that it is in fact an ESA. It is also illegal for landlords to charge an advance deposit for the animal, but if there is significant damage done to the property because of the animal they are allowed to fine you for repairs needed.

      Here’s more about ESA laws:

      I wish you and your daughter luck; as someone with severe anxiety and depression, I understand her struggle.

    2. LLARRY

      Yes she will the dog is not considered a pet it is a work animal . Search around on lone for FHA (Fair Housing Association) Laws . Her Landlord also CAN NOT charge her a “pet” deposit for it or raise her rent or kick her out for it . AS long as she has the letter confirming by a doctor she NEEDS an ESA.

  27. Basha

    Hello, would German Shepherd be allowed as a ESA?
    Also, I need to move back in to my condo that I owe but we can’t have dogs. Are rules the same

    1. Brie

      I believe any animal can be certified as an ESA, and according to the Fair Housing Act (FHA) you cannot be denied housing because of an ESA. Even if a place of residence does not permit dogs (or other animals) you cannot legally be denied housing there. Landlords are also not legally permitted to charge an advance deposit for any ESA, but if there is significant damage done to the property by the animal they are allowed to charge a fine for repairs needed.

      Here’s more information about ESA laws:

  28. Roxy Stuart

    I need info. As to where to get an emotional service dog. A dog that is trained for this purpose.
    My nephew has asbergers, he is high functioning but cant cope with depression anxiety – if you can text me some agencys names and #’s that would be a great start. Thanks

    1. CertaPet

      Hello Roxy,

      Thanks for reaching out! Unfortunately, if you are looking information regarding a service animal we do not have it, due to the fact our main focus on emotional “support” animals. We try our best to provide useful resources and answer any questions people have about the ESA laws. Feel free to call us at (877)207-0561 if you need any additional information.

  29. Cecil Ball

    My name is Cecil Ball. I’m looking for an emotional support Bird. Preferably an Timitan or African grey or an Amazon Blue Front. But at least something that I can train or keep training to talk. We had an Amazon when I was younger and I learned I guess my fair share of working with the birds. I can trim their wings and toe nails. I’m on a fixed income so I need smaller payments or lower price. The Amazon Blue Front we had was a rescue from a local person. She was named Baby and she was pulling her feathers out. My mom became allergic to the dust on their feathers they clean themselves in. so she got rid of all our birds. Ihat’s been several (over 20 years) years ago. Now she misses her bird she said she would take the shots or medicine till she would be ok.
    I’m looking for something to talk or I can train to talk and can eventually carry on a few conversations with in time. I’ll take what I can get rescue bird partially trained just whatever. I’d like it as an emotional support animal that I can take places with me to help me when I get stressed. I do have a doctor’s excuse. If you cannot help maybe you can steer me in the right direction. All help would be appreciated.

    Thank you
    Cecil Ball

    1. CertaPet

      Hi Cecil,

      Thanks for commenting! Unfortunately, we don’t provide the pet itself, we help connect individuals with mental health professionals who can write the ESA letter. An ESA does not need training, therefor it can be any pet who you feel a special connection with. We always recommend to visit animal shelters or visit local pet stores where you can find pets that are given in adoption.

  30. Hannah

    I live in a college dorm and am diagnosed OCD. I was thinking that if I could adopt a kitten or even an older cat it would help me a lot (as my dog and cat back home help more than you can imagine). In order to get an ESA letter, do I need to have the pet first? I ask because I can’t bring my cat from home here as she is too old and would not understand but if I had a letter could I then adopt one? (The dorm won’t let me have it unless I have a letter first). Thank you.

  31. Robyn

    I’m under the treatment of a general practitioner for my mental health issues. Will a letter from her be enough to qualify me? I took your five-minute test and it said I was a good candidate . Previously the family dog acted as an ESA for me, even though we’d never registered her, and I’d like to register the next dog I get for the housing and travel benefits.

    1. jennnifer

      Hi Robyn,

      Not to butt my nose in, but if you scroll down a few comments to the one from Kay (24 October 2016), you will see that she poses a very similar question (though a bit more complicated, as she is overseas).

      This was the response to her post: Send us an email at [email protected] and we can help you out.

      I hope that they will be able to assist you as well!

      Best of luck, and good health to you,

  32. Toni Self

    I have a dog that is great at helping me with emotional support. He is 6 yrs old, sweet and mostly well behaved. He does get excited around new people and tends to jump on them. Any ideas where I can get training done with him before I worry about getting a letter from my dr?

    1. CertaPet

      Hi Toni, thanks for your comment! Emotional support animals do not require special training like service animals, therefore we do not have specific information on where to get training for your dog. I recommend checking with animal shelters and dog trainers in your area. Here is a website regarding the differences between emotional support animals and service animals.

      I hope this information helps!

  33. Nicole

    I previously saw a life counselor and specialist on mental health; however I have not been to see then in a few months. I was diagnois and work at a pet store because it helps with my depression and anxiety. My parents recently got me a dog because I am moving out. Will I have any problems contacting my life counselor for a letter for a ESA?

    1. CertaPet

      Hi Nicole,
      Thanks for reaching out! You should have no problem receiving an ESA letter from your life counselor, as long as she is licensed to practice in your state. However, if you do run into issues please contact us and we can connect you with a highly qualified mental health professional that can evaluate you and write an ESA letter. Simply send us an email at [email protected] and we can help you out.

  34. Kay

    I already have an ESA and have traveled on over 35 flights with him. However, I have been stationed in Japan for over a year now, and my letter is over a year old and is from my psychiatrist back in the states that I obviously am not treated by anymore. My question is, will it be sufficient for my primary care physician to write me a new letter (for an upcoming trip)? Because I have not been seeing a psychiatrist, and have only been treated by my PCM (not many resources out here.). I will be flying Delta Airlines in a little less than a month, and I am so nervous about this- which isn’t helping my anxiety! Thanks.

    1. Post
  35. Alyssa

    I am currently seeing a psychologist for my GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). Can she write me a letter for an emotional support animal? I’m confused about what mental health professional has to write the letter. I would need my dog to fly with me and have the letter for housing.

    1. Post
  36. Mackenzie

    I own a ball python and she is a sweetheart! She has helped me become less angry at times and depressed. I am diagnosed with depression and I may be Bipolar l. Can she ever be a ESA?

    1. Post
    2. Doug

      It is ridiculous requests like this that will make it bad for everybody. I actually like snakes, but you know very well that lots of people are petrified of them. Why do people always have to take everything too far.

    1. Post
      1. Mikki Olsen

        Hi, my general physician told me (and she’s not the first) that due to me finding comfort in dogs tha I should get an ESA . I have anxiety about leaving home and being in public and have almost a phobia of people. Sometimes I can’t go out and won’t for several days until I’m forced to go to the grocery store because there’s no food at home. I do not make friends easily, most of the people I regularly deal with are friends I’ve had since school. Have not kept any new friends around since middle school. I could never finish school due to my issues and medication never worked: it either made me worse, did nothing, or made me sick to my stomach. My general care physician says she can help me get the dog certified, as I do not see a therapist as I most recently moved so my therapist is no longer my therapist. Would my doctor be able to certify an ESA? Thanks!

  37. Joseph

    I have a Generalize Anxiety Disorder, ADHD, and Bipolar II. I have two cats that help me to control my mood swings and my anxiety. I know they qualify to become ESA’s. How do I go about that. Do I need to get a letter for each of them or can I cover both? Do I need any proof of my conditions?

    1. Rebecca Barclay

      I am also quite new to this process. In the past, my Primary Care Physician’s letter (ie: My Doctor) was sufficient for federal low-income housing. Suddenly, in this new apt, it is not?? I should think one letter for two cats should be enough, but that’s a ?? for the ESA folks to answer*!* Good Luck*!*

    2. minlee

      Joseph, I would suggest you first take our free pre-screening exam to see if you qualify. This will then take you through the process which we have made as painless as possible. Thanks Joseph and we wish you well.

  38. Betty

    What is the charge for the Mental Health letter, and do I have to “renew” this letter on a yearly basis at the same cost? We live in a community where only 1 pet is allowed, and my husband has a cat that couldn’t care less if I lived here. He is daddy’s boy all the way. A dog for me would greatly improve my mental state and other medical issues, and would no doubt help me live longer. Will this letter be able to fight the HOA board and allow me to keep a small dog? Others have gone to court over this type of thing and have lost and either had to move or get rid of one pet.

    Thanking you in advance,

    1. Post
  39. Rae

    Do you need to get a vest or anything for an ESA, or is your letter all that is needed? Like can I walk my dog around on her leash/harness as normally and just keep your letter on me at all times?

    1. Post
  40. Kelsey

    Does someone with and ESA have to get a new letter every 12 months, just wanting to make sure if information i have been given prior is correct or not before doing anything. I do have ptsd, deppression, anxiety, and panic attacks, and i do know i can get get certified. I just prefer not to have someone drive me an hour to my doctor, and haven’t found a new psychiatrist since my last one wouldn’t help with anything except calling the cops when i explained what i was going through at the time (her not wanting to refill my medication) because she was wonderful enough to not even know she was the one that prescribed them to me.

    1. Post

      Typically the Therapist only will write letters that cover 1 calendar year. This is primarily due to the fact that they see it as a prescription.

    2. Rebecca Barclay

      My goodness, gracious, sakes alive. Your story is almost exactly like my pals experience up here in Northern AZ, excepting his “idiot” wasn’t/is not even a real Dr, merely a “nurse practitioner”; which frankly I believe, this person is only the practicing part, not even a true Nurse*!*

      What is up with these new requirements, when a Dr’s letter was perfectly acceptable just 4 months ago, now it is NOT??

    1. Steeny Bakke

      Any animal can qualify, but you might have to fight harder for people to recognize a pony over a dog or cat. My friend has a cocktail as her ESA.

  41. Ayralynn Darling

    Can I still qualify to have an emotional support dog if I don’t have a current psychologist? Or do I have to have a doctor? (I can’t afford to be seen by a professional even though I am diagnosed with mental disabilities)

    1. Post

      You will need to be assessed by a Licensed Mental Health Professional which could be a Doctor or a Therapists in your area or via Telahealth.

  42. Crystal Diana

    I’m not diagnosed with any illness but I’m want to get my Labrador ESA certified. Our Apartments don’t allowed large bread dogs. She was given to us by a neighbor and we got attrached. Now, since she’s been in our life everything has been different in a great way. She gets me out of the apartment and active. Also we have been trying to get pregnant for a few years with no luck, which causes me to isolate myself and feel down most days.

    1. Post
  43. Seiarrah Johnson

    Hello, I wanted to know how long does it take to hear back from the professional after you do the screening. I’m currently looking to get an emotional support kitten recently and just wanted to know. My boyfriend was the one who recommend this to me since i suffer from depression and anxiety . He even offered to help me get the kitten if I was approved.

    1. Post

      Once you complete your intake assessment and are assigned to a Licensed Mental Health Professional, you should hear back within 24-hours. IF you have any concerns just give us a call at (844) 272-9391 or email us at [email protected]. We just built a new software platform so things are running even better than before 🙂

  44. Julia

    I have a variety of medical problems that not only affect my mental health but my physical. My ability to walk is due from my heart and my 22Q Deletion Syndrome, and I have anxiety, constant panic attacks and I’ve been suicidal (I called a suicide hotline the other day and thankfully they helped calm me down).

    I currently have three dogs but none of them help me. They aren’t trained and are actually all quite spoiled but the thing is i want a dog just for me that will listen and guide me through my episodes and let me hug/hold them. I can’t go out much due to my health problems, but if I did it’d be nice to bring the dog with me since I get anxiety in public places often.

    I’m claustrophobic and am really terrified of crowds. I’ll wait out a crowd to make sure I’m not trampled before walking past people. For some reason I’ve just had panic attacks in my room and said “I don’t want to be in my room” And it’ll be 3 AM and I know my parent’s are sleeping, and I can’t do anything about it – I just need someone. Which, again, I think I’ll benefit from a Emotional Support Dog in those situations.

    Lot’s of things are going on right now. I have oral surgery on Tuesday and soon will be getting an operation in the Cardiac Cath Lab. My mother said she’d consider it – but I don’t even know where to start looking into getting a dog like this. Can anyone here help me or offer me links? I live in Florida if that gives you an idea. Would our insurance be able to cover it? I have Medicade.

    1. Post

      You may want to actually get a trained Service Dog. Since ESAs are not trained to perform specific tasks, a service dog may be a better solution for you. Send us an email at [email protected] and our customer experience team can guide you through the process.

      All the best,
      CertaPet Team

    1. Post
  45. S

    Is this letter guaranteed? I have a flight coming up in a few days and I need to show necessary paperwork in advance.

    1. Post
  46. Friend

    Hi, I suffered from depression for many years yet never told doctors or anyone about it. Now I am currently pregnant and it still affects me. I live in an apartment that does not accept pets. Will this website be able to help someone like me get a dog since I have no medical documentation anywhere of my past history?

    1. Post
  47. Shawn

    Our apt complex wants my wife’s physician to sign and fill out a quick questionaire given to us by the apt to prove the need for the therapy dog. Is this something you could do if we emailed it you?

    1. Post

      All of the Therapists in our network can help you with this. Just take the 5-min Emotional Support Animal screening by clicking “Start Here” and if you are a good candidate you will be able to pay for a consultation with a Licensed Mental Health Professional. After that, you will be able to work with the Therapist to get the documentation you need.

  48. Sabrynna

    After we complete the certapet screening, do I have to do anything else or wait until I get a response from the screening?

    1. Post

      The screening is an informational tool that tells you whether you are a good candidate. Afterwards you will want to head over to and select the type of consolation you would like. Once you pay, you will be automatically connected with a Licensed Mental Health Professional via our proprietary health platform and they will have the final say as to whether or not an ESA will be beneficial to you. If you have any questions or concerns shoot our Customer Experience team an email at [email protected].

      Have a great weekend!

    1. Post
    1. Post

      Registries are scams since they are meaningless without a recommendation letter from a Licensed Mental Health Professionals. If you check the quick summary of Emotional Support Animal Laws we compiled, you will noticed that no where does it say anything about registries. My suggestion is to steer clear of them and save your money.

  49. Andy Harrison

    I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who could greatly benefit from getting something like this. Now you can’t just pick any animal and call it good. You have to take a test to make sure you are eligible for one. If you are, then how would you go about picking an animal?

    1. Post

      Unlike a Service Dog, Emotional Support Animals require no training and do not have to meet any special requirements. However, we highly recommend that you ensure your dog is well trained and well behaved to reduce any potential conflict when bringing them into a rental house/apartment or on an airplane.

      1. Hunter

        So I currently do not have a dog that I can take with me. My parents dog helps me with my anxiety and depression but I cannot have him. Would I be able to get my own dog? Or do I already have to own one?

        1. Post
  50. Pingback: CertaPet Review | Do You Need An Emotional Support Animal? - Nokia

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