Seattle offers greater privileges for pets and Emotional Support Animals than many other cities in the USA. Within the Emerald City, dogs can ride on city buses, visit several hotels and restaurants, and run free within a few famous off-leash parks. Everyone with an animal companion, including ESA owners who suffer from mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and PTSD, can benefit due to the city’s welcoming approach to animals.

What is an Emotional Support Animal? 

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an assistance animal for individuals with mental and psychological disorders that provides companionship, comfort and a feeling of safety. In contrast to Service Animals, an ESA does not have to be specifically trained to perform tasks, it only has to provide emotional support to ease symptoms of the owner’s mental condition. Emotional Support Animals are protected by two federal laws.

  • Under the Fair Housing Act, individuals who own Emotional Support Animals cannot be discriminated against by landlords due to their disability. A building’s policies and restrictions that apply to normal pets do not apply to ESAs.
  • Under the Air Carrier Access Act, an ESA can accompany their handler in the cabin of the aircraft.

Both laws require an ESA Letter from a licensed mental health professional, showing that the person suffers from a disability and needs an ESA to help with that disability.

To work with a licensed health professional to see if you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, click below.

The State of Washington follows federal rules and regulations surrounding Emotional Support Animals. For Service Animals, Washington’s Law Against Discrimination mirrors the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which covers the rights of Service Animals for those with disabilities.

Who can write an ESA letter (local or online) in Seattle? 

Those who wish to have an Emotional Support Animal in Seattle need to qualify for an ESA letter. ESA letters are letters of recommendation written and signed by licensed mental health professionals, such as registered nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and other licensed professionals. For purposes of Housing, the individual must be assessed to have a disability, which can be a mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. For air travel, the individual must be diagnosed with a disorder recognized under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In both of these cases, the condition that requires an emotional support animal can include things like depression, severe anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Should you decide to use an online ESA service, make sure that you are connected with an LMHP licensed in the State of Washington.

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Where can you go with your ESA in Seattle?

Larger cities typically have stricter policies regarding animals which are not service animals, such as Emotional Support Animals. Because of Seattle’s accommodating nature towards pets in general, Emotional Support Animals are more welcome in public locations than in many other cities. Many business owners have adjusted their policies to be inclusive of pets. Hotels, such as the Edgewater, Hotel Andra, and Kimpton Alexis Hotel, accommodate pets, and restaurants such as the Barking Dog Alehouse and Le Pichet allow for dogs to join their owners while they enjoy a meal.

ESA in a restaurant
Many restaurants in Seattle welcome owners with their ESA.

Where can you adopt an ESA in Seattle? 

If you need an Emotional Support Animal in Seattle, WA, adopting is the preferred choice. Seattle has made extensive efforts to protect animals from abuse and to create a pet-friendly city. Adopting an animal from one of the agencies below will certainly be beneficial to everyone involved: 

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Dog Gone Seattle – Dog Gone Seattle, a Washington-based non-profit organization protects dogs from kill shelters within the state of Washington. All rescued dogs are taken care of by foster homes in the greater Seattle area. Funds come from adoptions and donations. (DogGoneSeattle)

Foster based Dog Gone Seattle rescue.

Seattle Animal Shelter – Along with adoption, the Seattle Animal Shelter also offers spaying, neutering, purchasing pet licenses, and volunteering for animal care. The Seattle Animal Shelter has dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and other small pets for adoption. It has been an established, government-funded organization for over ten years. (SeattleGov)

Government funded Seattle Animal Shelter (photo by Daniel Guillen).

Ginger’s Pet Rescue – Specializing in saving death row dogs, Ginger’s Pet Rescue is a network of fosters within the Seattle area that relies on foster owners to care for these animals. Fully supported through adoption fees and donations, Ginger’s Pet Rescue has been operating since 2006 and is a highly successful, established organization. (GingerPetRescue)

Ginger’s Pet Rescue foster care.

Where can you take your ESA for exercise, especially before a flight in Seattle? 

If you live in Seattle, WA, you know there are plenty of places to take your Emotional Support Animal for exercise before your flight. The Seattle-Tacoma Airport has a few indoor dog rest stops for potty breaks and the city hosts numerous dog parks. Many of them accommodate dogs and owners who prefer to be off-leash.

ESA in parks in Seattle
Let your dog run free in one of Seattle’s great dog parks.

Crestview Park – This three-acre space offers ample space for dogs to run free. The park provides potty bags, a double gate, and guidelines for protection, such as all dogs being licensed and vaccinated. 

Map of Crestview Park
16200 42nd Ave S, Tukwila, WA 98188

Grandview Off-Leash Dog Park – Founded by Dogs of Grandview Supporters, Grandview Park hosts dog events and activities, all funded by members of the dog-loving community. If you wish to be surrounded by all the good boys and girls, then this park is the place to go. (GrandviewOffLeash)

Map of Grandview Off-Leash Dog Park
3507 S 228th St, SeaTac, WA 98198

B-Town Lakeview Park – Just a 20-minute drive from the airport you’ll find B-Town Lakeview Park, a dog park run and owned by the B-Town Dog Owners Group. Consistently receiving awards and funds for their service, B-Town Lakeview Park is an excellent choice for your dog to play. (BTwnDog

Map of B-Town (Burien) Off-Leash Park
15810 5th Ave SW, Burien, WA 98166
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Good local pet stores in Seattle

These pet stores in Seattle, WA, have a wide variety of specialty foods, toys, and treats for you and your ESA to enjoy. 

Map of Pet stores in Seattle, WA.
Find a pet store in Seattle, WA.

Mud Bay – Mud Bay has been an established pet store chain in the Pacific Northwest since 1988, providing cats and dogs with researched and trusted nutritional foods. Mud Bay gives pet owners educational opportunities for better care and treatment of pets, and comprehensive customer service across the state of Washington, and has become one of the largest chains in Seattle. (MudBay). 

Pioneer Pet Feed & Supply – Pioneer Pet Feed, a locally owned pet store in Seattle, shows genuine care for pets with their selective sources of food, toys, and treats. With a laid back vibe and down to earth approach, Pioneer Pet Feed & Supply is part of the eclectic atmosphere of the city of Seattle. (PioneerPetFeedSupply). 

Next To Nature – Next to Nature offers more opportunities for spoiling your emotional support animal with a wide variety of pet supplies. Catering to more than just cats and dogs, their focus on nutrition and care takes on a holistic approach, and they even offer a selection of products for their customers. (NextToNature). 

Seattle’s Local ESA News

As much as the State of Washington loves pets, the ferry system in Seattle has asked passengers to keep pets out of the passenger cabin seats. According to Komo News, the Washington State Ferry System (WFS) will only allow Service Animals to ride the passenger seats of their ferry lines. While many passengers disagree with the new policy, the WFS states that those traveling with pets and Emotional Support Animals must either remain on deck or keep the animal in a crate in order to enter the boat’s passenger cabin. 

Three easy steps to get an ESA Letter with ESA Doctors
If the LMHP you are working with is not familiar with ESA regulations, you may qualify for an ESA letter from a LMHP licensed in WA. Press on the button below to apply.
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