An emotional support dog is a specialized type of pet that offers comfort and support to its owner.
While every pet provides comfort but they do not enjoy the same rights as an ESA. However, to make sure that your dog gets the same degree of rights and access, you need to get an emotional support letter.
The letter also acts as an emotional support dog certification and once you have the letter, you will not need any other document to live and travel with your dog.
Read on to know the top benefits of having an ESA letter for your dog as an emotional support animal.
What is an Emotional Support Dog Certification??
Before moving towards knowing what an emotional support dog certification is, let's talk about what is an emotional support dog. An emotional support animal or dog is a pet that is identified with providing emotional support to its owners.
Unlike a usual pet that we all had at one point in our lives, an ESA is different. They are not usually coined as ‘pets’ because it is believed that they service different and higher purpose than a usual pet. They help an individual stabilize emotionally and live as a normal and happy human being.
Besides, ESA is prescribed by a medical practitioner and the owner must be diagnosed with some form of mental or emotional disability like social anxiety, depression, panic attacks and post traumatic stress or any other condition that is hindering the normal working and living capacity of an individual.
An emotional support dog certification is a legal document that qualifies and certifies your pet as an emotional support animal. Having a certificate means that you can have your pet in places that, usually, do not allow animals.
How to Make My Dog an Emotional Support Dog?
Already have a dog that you want to make your ESA? The process of converting your pet into an ESA is the same as getting an ESA from the start. Follow the following steps:
- Consult your licensed therapist and explain why you want to make your pet an ESA.
- Explain why you think you need an ESA and what makes your pet ideal for it.
- Give your dog the necessary training.
- Qualify the test and get the letter.
Please understand that it is not necessary that the therapist will give you the letter or that you qualify for an ESA. In case you do not qualify, you can still enjoy your pet’s company.
In case you are working with an online source and they tell you to register your dog as an emotional support animal then look the other way. There is no such thing as animal registration and you must not fall prey to any such claims and fake companies.
Why Get a Legitimate Emotional Support Dog Certification?
Wondering why to get an ESA certificate or the emotional support animal letter when you can keep your pet without it? You can keep your pet without having it certified but, what if you decide to move into a new neighborhood that does not allow pets in houses? How will you keep your animal with you?
Generally, whenever a family goes on a holiday or moves to another place through an airplane, they need to leave their pet in a pet facility. The main reason is that most of the airplane services do not allow pets. With an ESA letter, you will not have to leave your beloved dog or cat behind..
Having a certification offers a number of benefits. Below we have discussed 5 top reasons and benefits of having an emotional support dog certification.
- 1. Live with Your Emotional Support Dog
Finding a pet housing facility to accommodate your animal is not an easy task. This is why special laws are made to protect the ESA owners and their companions.
With a legal and valid emotional support letter, you can enjoy the right to live with your pet, be it a dog, cat, or any other animal. There are some landlords that do not allow pets or ask for a pet deposit.
According to the Fair Housing Act, no landlord can deny the request for the residence of a person with an emotional disability. He has to make special arrangements to accommodate the ESA owners and their emotional support animal (ESA).
The landlord can ask for no extra charges or pet fees for the ESA. Even if they follow the ‘no pets policy’ as their property management efforts, they do not apply to the emotional support dog or any other animal, since they are not considered as pets.
- 2. Fly with Your Pet
Do you know that with a legitimate ESA letter you can fly with your animal? Leaving our beloved dog or cat behind is something that we never liked and the situation can worsen if we are suffering from any emotional issues. To make the situation easy for everyone, federal laws regarding flights have also been issued.
According to the Air Carrier Access Act law, your emotional support dog can accompany you in the flights as long as it fits within the provided accommodation and does not pose any threat or disturbance to other passengers.
- 3. You do not Need to Train your Dog Specifically
Unlike service animals, psychiatric service dogs, and service dogs, an ESA does not require specialized training. To qualify for a service dog certificate or letter, these dogs are trained to perform some specific tasks. These tasks are according to the needs of the person who is in need of some form of assistance.
For example, you must have seen physically challenged people having assistance dogs to wheel their wheelchairs or blind people having a helping dog that accompanies them everywhere they go.
Your ESA is there to provide emotional and mental support only and this is what they do. A certificate gives them greater benefits than a therapy dog and with a certificate, you can travel and live with your dog.
Your emotional support dog enjoys greater benefits than a therapy dog who is not given much public access. However, an ESA has fewer rights and access than a service dog.
- 4. Enjoy Constant Companionship
With an emotional support dog certificate, you do not need to leave your beloved friend behind. You can enjoy constant companionship and support. We understand that for some people, performing without their emotional support dog or animals is difficult.
This is why many people take their ESAs to their workplace because they feel relaxed and this helps them perform and do better in their jobs.
To tackle the situation, several laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have been passed that forbids any kind of discrimination based on any disabilty. Having an emotional support animal certification ensures that your dog has the public access and you get the support and help that you need to live a happy and content life.
- 5. You Can Have Any Dog Breed
It happens many times that some landlords do allow pets but have some restrictions about its size and breed, which means that if your pet does not meet their requirements then you will have to let it go. With a legal certificate, you can keep your pet regardless of its size and weight.
Federal laws state that these restrictions do not apply to an ESA and emotional support dogs, which means that you can have your dog with you. Some of the most common dog breeds that work great as an emotional support animal include:
- Golden Retriever
- English Bulldog
- Great Dane
- Irish Wolfhound
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
- German Shepherd
- Labrador Retriever
- Japanese Spitz
Related:Healthiest Dog Breeds with Least Health Issues
These breeds are the most common choices but this does not mean that you cannot have any other breed. Some people love to have bigger dogs and a letter will help you do it if you are also a fan of big, impressive, and gentle giants.
How to Get Emotional Support Dog Certification?
Qualifying for an emotional support animal does require some work and some homework of course. However, this does not mean that you fake or make up some stories about it. Remember that a fake letter is easily recognizable and you could be penalized for it.
Absence of the doctor’s license number along with its date of issuance and expiration, absence of letterhead, and the doctor’s signature are some red flags that you should not miss.
To qualify for an emotional support dog or any other animal as an ESA, you must contact a licensed mental health professional or an online professional service like RealESALetter.com.
A legitimate service will provide you a genuine and valid letter that you can take anywhere and enjoy the rights as an ESA dog owner.
How to register an emotional support animal? Truth is, there is no such thing as an emotional support animal or ESA registration. To get an ESA, you will need to pass a screening test and qualify for it.
What are the Requirements for an Emotional Support Dog Certification?
To get emotional support dog certification, the person must be diagnosed with an emotional or mental health condition like stress, emotional instability, anxiety, panic attacks and others. Once the person is diagnosed, he could ask a mental health therapist to screen him and write a letter to him.
Additionally, he can also contact an online source to get the letter.
How much Does it Cost to Certify your Dog as an ESA?
The price of the letter varies from state to state but you can expect to pay anything between $100 to $200.
Some new ESA owners may want to get a free ESA letter but there is only one way to get a free letter and that is if your therapist agrees to write it for you free of cost. Other than this, there is no other way of getting a free letter.
To qualify for the letter follow the following steps:
- Fill out the online form.
- Get personal consultation by our expert practitioner.
- If qualified, get your letter in 24 to 48 hours.
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It takes 24 to 48 hours to make your dog an emotional support dog. Start your assessment today and get your letter within a day or so. Once you get the letter, you will not need to get any other dog letter or registry, this letter will be enough and covers all major areas.