Have you seen people fly with their dogs at the airport and wondered how? Most likely, these pets are actually emotional support dogs. We will address common questions, concerns, and things people get wrong the most.

You can also qualify for an ESA travel letter by completing the ESA questionnaire in the “Get Started” link below. We can connect you with a local licensed mental health professional that can assist you with the process today.

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Question #1 – Should I register my pet as an Emotional Support Animal?

No! Registering your pet does not make them an official Emotional Support Dog. The only way to make your pet into an Emotional Support Dog is to qualify for a legitimate ESA letter.

You may choose to order a custom ESA ID for your Emotional Support Dog but this only works in conjunction with an ESA letter.

Question #2 – What is an ESA letter? Can I get one online? 

An ESA letter is a recommendation note from a licensed therapist such as a family therapist, licensed counselor, or psychologist. The therapist writing your ESA letter should be well aware of ESA regulations.

If a therapist is unaware of ESA regulations, ESA Doctors can help you. A person in need of an ESA can connect with a licensed mental health professional online that can determine if you qualify for an ESA letter.

how to get an esa letter

Click the image to start the process to qualify for an ESA letter today.

Question #3 – Can my Emotional Support Dog be a Pit Bull or a Large Dog?

Yes! There are no weight or breed restrictions when it comes to emotional support dogs. Airlines must make reasonable accommodations for you and your emotional support dog. This includes allowing you to sit in the bulkhead of the airplane so your larger ESA has room to sit down comfortably. Airlines cannot block access because of weight or breed.

You and your ESA cannot sit in the exit row and cannot block the aisleway. Your ESA must also be well behaved and cannot pose harm to others. If your emotional support dog is acting aggressively, you are responsible for their actions and can be denied access.

Question #4 – How do I train my ESA?

Emotional Support Dogs do not require special training, unlike certified Service Dogs. Emotional Support Animals do need to obey basic commons such as sit, stay, down, and heel. An ESA is not required to perform a task to aid with a disability.

However, as mentioned earlier, your ESA must be well behaved and in your control at all times.

Question #5 – How do I prepare my Emotional Support Dog for their first flight?

dog flying

Follow the tips below when flying with your emotional support dog.

Flying with your Emotional Support Dog can be a liberating experience. However, the first time flying with your Emotional Support Dog can be stressful, especially if they are larger in size. Below are a few tips we find helpful –

  1. First flight should be a short flight – 1-2 hours max. This will give you a good idea how your ESA may respond to flying and also help them see it is not a scary experience.
  2. Do not provide food or water to your dog 2-3 hours before the flight. Give them at least 30 minutes outside before heading to the airport
  3. 1-2 Hour of intense exercise for your Emotional Support Dog day of the flight (this means waking up early if you need to!)
  4. Bring treats to the airport and use the entire experience as a training drill. Dogs naturally enjoy having a job so this can end up being a fun experience for them as well.
  5. Consult your veterinarian about feeding your emotional support dog Benedryl or Dramamine for motion sickness and anxiety

Question #6 – How do I tell the airline I have an Emotional Support Dog?

Emotional support dog

Emotional support dogs can fly in the cabin with you without having to pay additional pet fees. 

This part is easy! The airlines are well versed in emotional support dog regulations. If you run into an airline representative that may not be well informed, simply ask them to consult with a supervisor and you will be all set.

The first step is to book your flight. Immediately afterward or at your earliest convenience, we recommend calling the airline to confirm that you will be traveling with an emotional support dog. The airline will inform you of their specific policies and procedures at this time. As long as you have an official ESA letter from a therapist, you will be all set. You can find your airline’s ESA policy here.

Do not show up at the airport with a vest/registration papers and claim your pet as an emotional support dog. Although a vest can be a helpful tool, it does not make your dog an official emotional support animal. You are required to have an ESA letter. To qualify for an ESA letter from a licensed therapist, click on the link below.

Qualify for an emotional support dog letter below.

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Get the Love and Support you deserve. 

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