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. An ESA is recognized as a reasonable accommodation for a personal with a disability under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Here’s what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a government agency overseeing the Fair Housing Act, has to say about Emotional Support Animals:

“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. Typical qualifying conditions are (but not limited to): post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression. fear/phobias, panic disorder, mood disorders, personality disorders, seasonal affective disorder, social anxiety disorder, etc.

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 (including psychiatric service dogs) 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 (as allowed by the American with Disability Act (ADA)) 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’.

There is a third kind of companion dogs, the therapy dogs, which are used to provide animal-assisted therapy to people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and to people suffering from mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Therapy dogs are not usually owned by individual owners, and are not considered as an assistance animal. As a result, therapy dog owners are not eligible to receive the reasonable accommodations commonly extended to service dog or emotional support animal owners.

might be trained to provide affection comfort and love to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and to people with mental disorders, such as anxiety disorder or autism

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 dog 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 and should be allowed as a resonable accommodation.

Please note that an emotional support dog 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 emotional support 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!

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