Yes, an emotional support animal can be left unattended at home for reasonable periods of time.

In fact, it is quite common for ESA owners to leave their animals at home while they go to work, school, or run errands. Of course, no pet should be left at home for too long — every owner is responsible for making sure their emotional support animal is comfortable and safe.

ESA owners also sometimes need to leave their animals at home for extended periods; the owner may be going on vacation or staying in the hospital for a prolonged visit. Since ESAs are no longer allowed on flights, more ESA owners have to leave their animals at home during trips.

The U.S. Department of Housing recognizes this and, in their ESA guidelines, states that ESA owners can care for their animals “on his or her own or with the assistance of family, friends, volunteers, or service providers.

Landlords sometimes mistakenly believe that an ESA must be at a tenant’s side at all times. That is incorrect. They may confuse ESAs with service dogs which generally always accompany their owners (because service dogs have public access rights). However, even service dog owners are allowed to leave their dogs at home unattended for short periods.

ESAs do not need to be at their owner’s side 24/7 to serve their purpose. Many ESA owners need the comfort of their ESA after being away at work, school, or an exhausting social event. As long as the ESA is well cared for, they can be left at home for short periods of time.

Can I leave an ESA at home unattended?

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