What is an ESA? 

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is often a priceless friend in need for persons suffering from anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses. They provide therapeutic support and are therefore irreplaceable for such people. The most common type of ESA is an Emotional Support Dog.

How do I register my dog as an ESA? 

Registration is NOT required for emotional support dogs!

Registration is NOT required for emotional support dogs!

If you are considering registering your dog, you should know that there is no official registry – what you need is an ESA letter written by a licensed therapist.

What is an ESA Letter? 

An ESA letter is a recommendation letter written by a licensed therapist. This letter should be filled out by a mental health professional, which means that one written by your family doctor probably won’t be enough in most cases. Make sure to work with a therapist who specializes in animal therapy so they know all the requirements. You do not want to worry about whether it will be accepted or not. 

If you are currently working with a therapist, we recommend asking them to write you an ESA letter. If they do not believe in animal therapy or are unaware of ESA rights, you may seek support from one of our therapist. Please click on the image below or on this link to proceed – Qualify for an ESA Letter Online.

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How is a legitimate ESA letter different from an ESA Registry? 

An ESA registry is a site that asks for money to confirm that you have a registered emotional support animal. This is not required by law and should not be done. If any company or website states that registration is required, they are a scam and should not be trusted. The only way to qualify your pet as an official ESA is to qualify for a legitimate ESA letter from an ESA doctor (such as a psychologist) or licensed therapist (LMFT, LPC, etc.). You may choose to carry a custom ESA license or certification for your personal convenience, but know that this is not legally required.

What should an ESA Letter Contain?

A legitimate ESA letter MUST be written by a licensed mental health professional.

A legitimate ESA letter MUST be written by a licensed mental health professional.

An ESA letter should include the following information:

  • Your name
  • That you have a disability as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders
  • You are unable to perform at least one of the most important activities of your everyday life because of this disability 
  • The ESA is prescribed to you by a licensed mental health professional
  • The Federal Regulations that protect you

Also, you should make sure that your ESA letter isn’t dated later than a year from the current date.

Your Rights as an ESA Owner

ESA rights include flying in cabin of airplanes and living in "no-pet" apartments without additional fees.

ESA rights: fly in cabin of airplanes and live in “no-pet” apartments without paying additional fees or deposits.

First things first: even though ESAs don’t require any special training, your dog needs to be ready for this kind of a responsibility. It’s important that your emotional support dog knows how to behave among people and other animals. If you’re not sure your dog is up for the job or if it has some habits that should go away (like barking at people or jumping on them), you should definitely consider finding a person who will train your ESA and correct their behavior.

When it comes to rules you should know as an owner of ESA, simply put, federal laws forbid anyone from discriminating you or your emotional support dog.

First, this means that you can live in “no-pets” policy housing with your pet.

Landlords can’t require any additional training for your ESA, nor can they charge you any additional rent or deposits. They cannot place illegal regulations on your emotional support dogs such as weight, breed, or age discrimination. 

Second, this means airlines are obliged to let your dog sit with you in the cabin without a fee.

Your emotional support dog won’t have to be in a carrier, but you do have to keep it on a leash. If it helps, it can also sit on your lap during the flight. Still, make sure to notify the airline that you’ll be traveling with your ESA when reserving the seat. That will help the entire thing go as smoothly as possible.

Final Considerations

Your ESA dog will love and support you. You should do the same.

Your ESA dog will love and support you. You should do the same.

It is fairly easy to register a dog as an emotional support animal, but remember that ONLY an ESA letter will qualify a dog as a true emotional support animal. When choosing a dog, be careful when picking the right dog. Of course, if you already have a dog – your choice will be clear, but remember to be reasonable and train it if necessary.

If you don’t own a dog yet, you can always consider adopting from your local rescue or shelter. Lots of animals nowadays are full of love and just waiting for the right person to share their life with. However, be careful – picking an animal with a history of traumatic experiences may sound like a noble idea, but it could be a very wrong move for a person who does not have experience with dog training and needs to deal with their own problems. You may end up getting more stressed about your ESA rather than alleviating your stress.

Whatever your final choice, remember that this animal deserves as much as it’s giving you. If the dog is helping you stay focused, relaxed and happy, make sure they feel the same way. It should be a relationship that brings you both a lifelong friend and support system.

Get your emotional support animal letter online.

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