Emotional Support Animal Letter Requirement and How to Get

Today, animals in the United States have become an integral part of modern medicine. They help patients with physical inabilities adapt more quickly to society and new life conditions. But their main task is to carry out functions and processes that their owners are unable to do.

In addition, animals are increasingly being used in psychology and psychiatry. Emotional Support Dog may provide emotional support for people with various psychological diseases and dysfunctions. For instance, animals, especially dogs, are highly in demand among veterans, who suffer from PTSD.

However, do not forget that the rights of service animals and emotional support animals, as well as their owners, must be constantly defended and protected. The situation with official service animals is much easier, but to confirm the status and freedoms of an ESA you will definitely need certain documentation. One of the main documents of these animals is an ESA doctor’s letter which you can get from a licensed mental health professional.

Helper Animals Types

How emotional support animals help people article

First of all, you need to understand the otherness between service animals and emotional support animals. A service dog is not intended to be a companion or partner, it is disciplined to fulfill certain functions depending on the needs of the handler. This category includes animals that provide assistance to people with physical inabilities, for example, a guide dog, a dog that helps people with hearing or mobility issues.

These animals often also become protectors for their owners, because people with disabilities are unprotected groups of society. The dog, in turn, is trained to defend its owner from ill-wishers and is designed to prevent possible damage to the owner. Also, animals are taught to provide first aid if necessary, for example, if a human has a seizure, like epilepsy, the animal can call for help. Or, if the blood pressure or heart rate rises, the animal has a calming effect and helps to bring these vital signs back to normal. You can check the comparative table of each registration benefit on My Service Animal Registrar’s home page.

In addition, animals often help around the house and cope with those duties that their owner, unfortunately, cannot cope with. Each man can teach his dog to do household tasks that will facilitate his daily activities. For example, dogs can open and close windows or doors, press the elevator button, and do other daily chores that may not be available to people with dysfunctions.

A separate category of service animals is ones that are used in psychiatry, most often for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as for people with protracted depression and other psychological illnesses that require constant care and guardianship. A psychiatric service dog is a medical service and is not the same as an emotional support animal (ESA). For some federal state specific please check how to get an ESA letter in New York, a support dog letter in Ohio, and living with ESA in California.

In case you are interested in Service Dog Doctor’s Letter you can find relevant information in our blog.

What is an ESA?

ESA Rabbit ID

An emotional support animal is a true friend for those who suffer from various psychological and emotional maladies. They help people with depression, OCD, and PTSD, and even aid to alleviate the manifestations of intellectual and learning inabilities.

Emotional support animals are recommended for people of all ages. After all, first of all, they reduce the level of anxiety and stress, help to distract, give a sense of security and safety, and make their handlers more confident. For people who feel lonely or abandoned, ESAs become companions who are always there to brighten their lives. Thanks to supporting animals, people feel important and needed for someone.

Emotional support animals do not have to perform any special tasks other than to be some kind of psychologist. They do not receive special training, unlike service animals. However, ESAs must behave well and be obedient. You can teach your pet the necessary commands yourself. Such training with an animal can also be considered a kind of therapy that allows you to escape from unnecessary thoughts and clear your mind.

Misbelieves about ESA

Despite many scientifically proven facts of ESA helps men with psychical disturbances, many still do not trust this type of therapy. There is an opinion that ESA is not needed at all and people can cope with their mental problems on their own. However, emotional support animals play an essential role in maintaining a person’s mental and emotional health. Such therapy most often needs to be combined with taking medications and visiting a therapist, however, it is ESAs, due to their constant presence next to the owner, that plays a key role in the recovery of its handler.

Also, people often confuse regular pets with emotional support animals. Technically, an animal really does not need any documents to give you its love and care. However, without an ESA letter, you will not legally enjoy the full benefits of an ESA. For example, without such a document, the landlord will not allow you to live with the animal or will require an additional fee for this.

The Specificity of ESA Training

In fact, there is no specific training course for emotional support animals such as there is for any service dog. That is why almost any animal can provide emotional support to a handler who has an ESA letter and almost any animal can receive the ESA status. An emotional support animal supplies its handler with endorsement and comfort through partnership and shared pastimes. However, it is vital that animal really has a positive effect on the psychological condition of human and not be dangerous in society.

This is why the training of emotional support animals is limited to basic social behavior. Animals should not show aggression towards other animals and people, should not bark, bite and attack for no reason, and should not damage property. Due to basic training, the animals can enjoy their freedoms, such as living or flying in the cabin with the owner.

Applicable ESA Animals and Their Breeds

Vet with service dog

A service dog is the most widespread category of helper animal. However, a lot of pet owners often qualify their pets as ESAs. Therefore, it cannot be said that only one specific type of animal can be an emotional support animal. Nevertheless, dogs are still preferred more often.

Also, there is no certain breed of dog that would prevail among the ESA. Key parameters for selecting dogs for emotional support animals include routine testing for no aggressive response to humans and dogs and no fear of loud noises and unusual objects. Among the support animal, there are such breeds as a labrador, golden retrievers, poodles, and even miniature Toy Terriers.

Advantages of Emotional Support Animals

The emotional support animal primarily helps its owner to fight the constant feelings of loneliness. This is a devoted and loyal companion and partner who will help brighten up your leisure time and bring new colors to life. The animal helps to distract from obsessive thoughts, helps to find new exciting hobbies, and also promotes socialization. Animals can stimulate people to communicate with each other, often being a topic of conversation.

In addition, like any other animal, an emotional support animal is trainable, so you can teach it to do various household tasks. For instance, you can teach the animal to load and unload the laundry, bring the necessary things, and much more. Moreover, scientists have proven that even the very presence of an animal in the house has a calming effect, a human feels more protected and confident. An emotional support animal can help patients with such issues as bipolar disorder, eating disorder, and problems with learning and perception of information.

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ID card & online registration
Online registration
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ID card & online registration
Only online registration

ESAs for Mental Disorders

It has been proven that even observing dogs from a distance and communicating with them can help restore peace of mind to a person. This, in turn, contributes to the disappearance of aggression and hysterics. The animal can calm a person during a panic attack or stressful situation, it helps to find a connection with reality and brings his physical and emotional state back to normal.

Emotional support dogs are often used for patients with phobias and various maladies. Animal contributes to the normalization of the human condition. Communication with a dog calms and relaxes. It also can have a beneficial effect on a person in times of crisis. The animal can help its owner in a stressful situation in which he found himself. Animals also protect their handlers by awakening them during nightmares.

In addition, the animal protects the owner from possible harm from strangers. Everyone knows that dogs, for example, feel people’s bad intentions in advance. Animals also feel the fear of their owners and help humans fight it. An emotional support animal gives its owner self-confidence and increases a sense of security and safety. ESA owners see a reliable prop in their pets, so they become more sociable and outgoing.

Emotional Support Animals for Depression

ESA dog for depression

Emotional support animals are not used in the treatment of a specific mental illness, however, they can significantly alleviate the visible symptoms. Anxiety and depression are the most common psychological illnesses today, and emotional support animals help to alleviate these diseases and speed up the patient’s recovery. For example, a dog can inspire and motivate people to at least take daily walks. By encouraging physical activity due to the need to walk the dog, animals have a positive effect on the physical health of people. Also, if necessary, the dog can be an excellent excuse for the desire to change the environment or atmosphere.

Panic attacks that often accompany anxiety are overcome much easier in the presence of an animal. The dog has a calming and relaxing effect. In addition, if an attack occurs outside the home, the animals can help their handlers get home safely.

Also, emotional support animals are necessary for individuals with inabilities and incurable diseases. Often these diagnoses are accompanied by prolonged depression. However, depression is much easier if the patient is surrounded by emotional support. Emotional closeness with an animal helps people better manage their feelings and deal with fears of despair and loneliness.

Contraindications for getting an ESA

There are certain contraindications for therapy with an emotional support animal. These are laboratory-confirmed allergies, diseases of the upper respiratory tract, skin lesions, and diseases, infectious diseases, fever. People, suffering from these diseases, put themselves at risk by contact with an animal. Therefore, even with an emotional support animal letter, you need to consult a doctor in order to avoid the occurrence of emergency situations.

Another significant contraindication for getting an emotional support animal is phobias directed at animals. In this case, the use of an ESA will only aggravate your mental condition. At the same time, phobias should not be confused with fears. In case of anxiety and fears associated with animals, therapy is possible under the supervision of a psychologist, according to a special program.

Who May Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal?

Service dog in veterinary

If you are concerned about your emotional and mental condition, you can see a licensed mental health professional for diagnosis. First of all, you need to have a certificate from a doctor confirming the presence of a diagnosis the treatment of which includes therapy with the help of an emotional support animal. The most common diagnoses are depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and mild PTSD.

Only if you have a certificate confirming your emotional state, you can qualify for an ESA. A note from a doctor is the basis for acquiring an emotional support animal. You can take one from a shelter or qualify your own pet as an ESA.

What is an Emotional Support Animal Letter?

In fact, the ESA letter is a formal and correctly formatted certificate from a doctor about a person’s emotional dysfunctions. Such a certificate can be issued by a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a therapist, or any other mental health professional. It is important that the doctor is a specialist in mental health. Nevertheless, in some cases, for example, during the registration of the lease of an apartment, landlords accept a verified certificate from a family doctor, if he or she is treating you for a psychic illness.

If the doctor’s letter is juridically correct, it must be written on the doctor’s letterhead. It also includes the type of doctor’s license, the date of the license, the license number, and the office where the license was issued. In addition, the letter must contain the date of its writing and issue. The expiration date of ESA letters is 1 year.

Most often an ESA doctor’s letter is needed for the tenants to provide it to the housing provider in order to receive the rent. From it, the landlord can find out such information as your current state of mental health and restrictions in life activities due to your malady. But most importantly, the ESA letter should clearly state the fact that the emotional support animal is an inalienable part of the treatment of your current health condition.

MyServiceAnimal registrar offers legitimate emotional support animal registration online service for those who already have a doctor’s letter and want database confirmation and an ESA ID card that helps to recognize your pet status.

How To Get an ESA Letter From a Doctor?

The quickest and easiest way to get a doctor’s letter and emotional support animal is to contact your therapist. This could be a psychologist, a psychiatrist, a social worker, a nurse, or any other mental health professional who is familiar with your psychological and psychical health state. If your family physician is familiar with your mental health history then he or she can also write an ESA letter.

Once you have an ESA letter, your pet officially becomes an emotional support animal. This letter is a document defining your rights and the rights of your pet. You can show it to the landlord or use it in conflict situations in which you need to protect the freedoms of your animal.

Today, ESAs are used by many people who suffer from mental and psychological disorders. An emotional support animal can be a substantial part of the human healing process. ESA works great when combined with other therapies and medications. Many therapists understand the full advantages of an emotional support animal, so they write doctor’s letters to their patients.

However, some physicians are still not sufficiently familiar with how emotional support animals work or how ESA is provided to patients, so they cannot supply you with a doctor’s letter. Most often, such specialists send their patients to colleagues who are acquainted with ESAs. Moreover, today you can even get an ESA letter online. In case your therapist denied you in the ESA letter you can try to ask another therapist or a psychiatrist, or find an ESA doctor online.

ESAs’ Rights and Freedoms

ESA therapy dog

To enjoy all the benefits provided by a legitimate Emotional Support Animal, their use must be recommended by a qualified physician, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional based on the mental health needs of a man. In the case of emotional support animals, their owners must be aware of their rights and the rights of their pets. For example, according to the new federal law, ESAs cannot fly in the cabin of an airplane with their handlers. That is why for long trips it is recommended to choose pet-friendly airlines or to prefer other means of transport. The freedoms of emotional support animals are not as extensive as those of helper animals. In most cases, ESA does not have access to public places. However, schools, universities, and other organizations set their own policies on whether they allow attendance with an ESA or not.

You might be interested in some specific with ESA in Colorado, and about support dogs in Florida

According to the Fair Housing Act, a tenant can live with his or her emotional support animal even in an accommodation where pets are not allowed. The landlord is prohibited from imposing fines or charging additional fees for the accommodation of the Emotional Support Animal. Also, the emotional support animal is not subject to restrictions on the weight and size of the pet. However, a housing provider can take a deposit for possible damage to the property.


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