If you want to get an emotional support animal in Texas, you have many options. In Texas, an emotional support animal can be a dog, cat, bird, fish, gerbil, or other small household pet. 

The pet you already own can also qualify to become your emotional support animal. Read on to find out how to get an emotional support animal in The Lone Star State. 

How do I qualify for an ESA in Texas?

To qualify for an ESA in Texas, you need an ESA letter. An ESA letter is a signed letter from a Texas-licensed therapist, doctor, nurse, or social worker. An ESA letter gives you special rights in Texas, such as:

  • The ability to have your animal in no-pets housing.
  • Exemption from pet fees and deposits.
  • Exemption from breed and size restrictions.

A Texas healthcare professional must assess whether you have a qualifying mental health condition and need for an emotional support animal. You can use an online provider like ESA Doctors to be connected to a Texas ESA specialist remotely. 

Adopting an Emotional Support Animal in Texas

In Texas, you can get your ESA letter before or after adopting your animal. Remember, however, that until you get an ESA letter, your animal will be categorized as a normal pet without the special legal rights an ESA has. That means you will certainly want your ESA letter ready before moving into a new apartment or discussing your pet’s new ESA status with your current landlord

If someone tries to sell you an animal designated as an “emotional support animal” in Texas, they are making a bogus claim. Any household pet can become an emotional support animal. A pet’s status as an official emotional support animal depends on whether the owner has an ESA letter. 

Adopting an animal can be a rewarding experience, and many wonderful animals in Texas are waiting for their forever homes. Before you bring a new animal into your life, it’s important to do your research and understand the responsibilities of pet ownership. 

The first step in adopting an emotional support animal in Texas is to decide whether you are ready for the commitment. Owning an ESA requires time, effort, and resources, so it’s important to make sure you are prepared to provide for the needs of your particular animal. 

This includes providing regular meals, exercise, grooming, and medical care, as well as training and socialization. It’s also important to consider whether you have the space and resources to care for an ESA, as well as whether your lifestyle and schedule are suitable for an ESA.

New emotional support dog at home
Adopting the right animal is important to make the experience of having an emotional support animal rewarding.

Where to Find an Emotional Support Animal in Texas

Once you’ve determined that you are ready to adopt an ESA, the next step is to decide where to find your new companion. There are many options for adopting animals in Texas, including shelters and animal rescues.

Shelters are often operated by local governments or non-profit organizations, and they provide temporary care for stray or abandoned animals. Shelters often have a wide variety of animals available for adoption, including purebreds, mixed breeds, and puppies/kittens. Many shelters offer adoption services, such as spaying and neutering, microchipping, and vaccinations.

Animal rescues are similar to shelters, but they are often run by volunteers and are focused on specific types of animals, such as breed-specific rescues or rescues for animals with special needs. Animal rescues may have fewer animals available for adoption, but they often have a more personal approach to matching pets with families.

There are many shelters and animal rescues in Texas. Some recommended shelters and rescues in a few major cities include:

  • Dallas: Dallas Animal Services, SPCA of Texas
  • Austin: Austin Animal Center, Austin Humane Society
  • Houston: Houston SPCA, Houston Humane Society
  • San Antonio: San Antonio Animal Care Services, San Antonio Humane Society
  • Fort Worth: Fort Worth Animal Care and Control, Humane Society of North Texas
  • El Paso: El Paso Animal Services, Animal Rescue League of El Paso

When adopting an animal from a shelter or rescue, you can expect to fill out an application and possibly participate in an interview or home visit. This is to ensure that the animal is going to a good home and that the adoption is a good fit for you and the animal.

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What does it cost to get an ESA in Texas?

The cost of qualifying for an ESA is what your therapist or doctor would charge for an ESA evaluation. Unfortunately, that can be very expensive, especially for individuals without insurance. Fortunately, services like ESA Doctors works with Texas licensed professionals who can provide ESA evaluations and ESA letters for Texas for a low flat charge.

When adopting an ESA, it’s also important to consider the costs associated with caring for an animal. Shelters and rescues often charge an adoption fee, which may cover some or all of the costs of spaying or neutering, microchipping, and vaccinations. In addition to the adoption fee, you will also need to budget for ongoing expenses such as food, toys, and medical care.

For most ESA owners, the cost of owning an emotional support animal is well worth the value they provide for positive mental health and emotional well-being. 

Choosing the Right ESA for You 

When choosing an ESA for you, it’s essential to keep in mind how an emotional support animal can serve you. If you need an emotional support animal to calm your anxiety, a hyperactive and anxious animal may not be suitable for you. If you have a sedentary lifestyle or mobility issues, a dog that requires extensive exercise may be a poor fit. 

Owning an emotional support animal is a major commitment, and you’ll want to ensure compatibility not just with your mental health needs but your lifestyle and daily routines. 

Fortunately, many beautiful animals in Texas are waiting for their forever homes, and one is likely to be a great fit as your new best friend. By researching and choosing a reputable shelter or rescue, you can find the perfect emotional support animal to join your home.

Qualify for an ESA Letter in Texas today.

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