What is an Emotional Support Dog? | Legal Guidelines
Have you been struggling with anxiety and depression? Unfortunately, there are very few of us who go through life unscathed. Each of our challenges and demons is unique. Our love for our dogs is universal.
If you are reading this, it means you are ready to seek the support of an Emotional Support Animal Therapist and give your dog the legal protection you both need and deserve. Below are the steps you need to take to qualify for an ESA Letter, sometimes mistakenly called an ESA Prescription.
Understand the rights of your Emotional Support Dog and what the ESA letter Requirements are
Identify who can write an ESA letter. Can a physician write an ESA letter?
Find an ESA Doctor Near You or qualify for an ESA letter online
If you decide that an emotional support dog could benefit you at this time, you can start by clicking the link below to see if you qualify for an ESA letter. Complete the questionnaire below and connect with a licensed mental health professional who can assist you.
What is an Emotional Support Dog?
Emotional support dogs can fly in-cabin with you. The airlines cannot charge an additional fee.
An emotional support dog is a type of assistance animal. This specific type of assistance animal is for the benefit of their handler. They are not required to perform a specific task to aid in a disability, unlike a service dog. They are required to provide love and support to their handler. Support dogs must also be well behaved at all times. They cannot lunge, bark, or jump.
To make your dog a legitimate Emotional Support Dog, you will need to qualify for an ESA letter.
What are the ESA Letter Requirements
An ESA letter is a document written by a licensed mental health professional recommending an emotional support dog for a person. An ESA letter should be on a professional letterhead. In addition, it should include proper information and include the type of animal that you have.
In order to qualify for an emotional support animal, you must have a disability based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Your disability must limit you from doing a major activity such as sleeping or working. Your disability does not need to be physical or visible.
Connect with a Licensed Mental Health Professional
Why do I Need an ESA Letter?
You need an ESA letter so your dog is protected. Even if your dog is acting as your ESA, it is not recognized until you have an ESA letter.
Emotional Support Dogs have two clear rights that are enforceable with an ESA letter.
Your Emotional Support Dog can travel with you inside the airplane cabin. They do not need to travel in a kennel in the cargo hold. The airline cannot impose a fee and they cannot deny access based on age or breed.
Your Emotional Support Dog can live in “no-pet” buildings. This includes apartments and condos. An HOA or building manager cannot deny access to your Support Dog based on policy, weight, age or breed.
Does an ESA letter Expire?
An ESA letter does expire because the airlines require your documents to be written within one year of the travel date. To prevent stress at the airport, contact your therapist a week before last year’s evaluation date and request a re-evaluation and an updated ESA letter.
How Do I find an Emotional Support Animal Therapist or Doctor?
ESA Doctors can connect you to a therapist online for an ESA letter.
Finding an Emotional Support Animal Therapist can be more challenging than expected. There are two main reasons.
First, they may not believe in animal therapy. As crazy as it may sound to you, not everyone likes animals. As a result, they may dismiss the evidence showing Emotional Support Animals as a beneficial part of treatment.
Second, they may not be aware of the rules protecting your Emotional Support Dog. An ESA letter must contain specific language to be enforceable. If the person you are talking to is not well versed in ESA law, they may not be well suited to support you.
Can I Find an ESA Doctor Near Me?
Yes, you can contact ESA Doctors in your city and state. They will inform you within 1-2 business days if there is an ESA Doctor and/or LMHP near you.
ESA Doctors is currently supporting clients in the United States.
Can I Qualify for an ESA letter online?
Yes, you may qualify for an ESA letter online utilizing online platforms. This enables licensed mental health professionals who are able to recommend an ESA to assist you virtually. They may choose to support you through email, phone, or video conference.
Qualify for an emotional support dog letter online.