Owning an ESA in Texas

Pets aren’t just a consolation and a source of positive emotions to their owners. They are able to provide the necessary emotional endorsement and become a psychological prop for their owners. Such dogs, cats, rabbits, mice and other animals are no longer just pets. They can acquire the official status of an emotional support animal.

If you feel the need for moral strengthening and encouragement, on the advice of a doctor, you can become the owner of such an animal. ESA owners and their animals in Texas have certain privileges under the law. So, if you are thinking about owning an emotional support animal, we recommend that you read all the nuances and important information about these faithful companions in advance.

How to become an emotional support animal owner in Texas?

Happy family with ESA cat

There are two ways to get an emotional support animal in Texas. First, you can buy a new animal that will have ESA status. Second, if you already have a pet that brings you joy and comfort, you can register it as an ESA. Yet, both options start with a visit to a psychologist or therapist.

It all starts with a general assessment of your mental and emotional health. At this stage, the specialist makes a preliminary diagnosis and outlines the vector of treatment. After that, you need to go through several additional meetings with a psychologist or psychiatrist, so that the specialist has the opportunity to choose the most correct and suitable therapy for you. One of the possible options for extra therapy, which is prescribed for various mental disorders, is emotional support animals.

If a mental health professional decides that an emotional support animal will have a positive effect on the healing process and can help speed it up, you will receive an ESA letter. This document confirms your exigency for an ESA, as well as guarantees its rights and freedoms.

If you have received an ESA letter, you can go to the stores to choose the pet you like best. ESAs do not need special training, so you can buy your companion from animal distributors or take it from a shelter. In addition, if you already have a doctor’s prescription, we recommend that you order an Emotional Support Animal ID card, Animal Harness, Pet Tag and other accessories for the convenience in the MyServiceAnimal registrar.

If you already own an animal and want to officially establish its emotional support animal status, you do not need to obtain a license or enter information about the animal in special databases. From the moment you receive the ESA letter, the pet is officially considered an emotional support animal.

An ESA letter

ESA Cat ID card
ESA Registration

It is important that this document is issued by a qualified professional and meets all requirements. To do this, you first need to choose a reliable provider of the ESA letter. In Texas, you can get this paper both online and offline.

First and foremost, make sure your doctor’s license is valid in Texas. The license number of the person who issued the document must also be indicated in the ESA letter, so if the license is not valid, the ESA letter will also be considered invalid.

In addition, the ESA letter must be issued on the official letterhead of the doctor. We also recommend paying attention to the quality of the form. This must be the original, not a copy. Scanned forms of doctors, on which documents are issued, are a characteristic feature of fraudsters.

A well-composed ESA letter must include your first and last name, proof of a mental disorder that requires ESA, and information about the doctor and the institution where the document was issued. However, no confidential information that you would like to disclose to third parties is mentioned in the document.

Learn more: What to Do If Your Therapist Won’t Write You an ESA Letter

How broadened are ESAs in Texas?

The use of animals in the treatment and care of people with disabilities is now quite common. There are several types of four-legged helpers that perform different functions, but they are all designed to make life easier for their owners. Every year, emotional support animals are becoming increasingly popular in the United States and Texas, in particular. Texas people who suffer from mental disorders or feel lonely and unneeded often seek solace in ESAs.

The main role of the ESA is to provide a constant feeling of comfort and security. These animals are especially helpful for those who need emotional support due to mental health problems or after a traumatic event.

Staying in the home of a companion animal helps reduce the level of stress. Besides, when walking a dog, its owner actually exercises and breathes fresh air, and in addition in an urban environment thus provides social interaction with other dog lovers.

The most prevailing species

10best ESA dogs breeds

Dogs are the most common animal species among ESAs not only in Texas but throughout the United States. If you need a constant source of love, fun and happiness, a dog is the best option. These animals bring great benefits to mental and emotional health: they reduce stress, increase self-esteem, help cope with anxiety, and promote socialization and social ties of their owners.

Yet, other species can also be emotional support animals. For example, cats are almost as popular as dogs. These independent elegant animals help with loneliness, anxiety and depression. But they do not require so much attention and from time to time do not mind leaving you alone.

If you do not have a lot of free space in your home, you can pay attention to small animals such as rabbits and various rodents (mice, guinea pigs, ferrets). These cute creatures with fur coats are great for calming humans with serious mental problems.

Although the main criterion for choosing a companion animal is the emotional and psychological comfort that the animal must bring to its owner, some animal species are not recommended for the role of ESA in Texas. For example, experts do not recommend getting as companions venomous snakes and spiders, birds of prey and crows, or large and giant snakes. Of course, with the right level of training, these animals can be dealt with, but they always pose a potential threat to the owner.

Benefits of owning an emotional support animal

From time to time everyone feels lonely. For example, when you are too busy at work to communicate with family, or after a difficult breakup with a loved one. Such loneliness is depressing and can even cause depression. Getting rid of this feeling is important for psychological comfort and emotional health and a pet can come to the rescue. Animals are always ready to listen, they will be happy to spend time with you, making life happier and more colorful.

For humans, the emotional support animal is reliable psychological support that helps to alleviate many symptoms of mental illness, gives self-confidence and improves the overall well-being of the owner.

Practice shows that ESAs owners become more open and sociable. Often people talk to their animals and can tell them much more than even psychologists. ESAs help to get rid of the limitations and complexes that can arise due to a person’s mental state. In addition, in combination with regular consultations with a therapist and medication, ESAs help to get rid of many mental illnesses that worsen living conditions.

Laws about emotional support animals in Texas

renting with ESA

Often defending the rights of their animals, ESA owners mistakenly refer to the ADA. But it should be noted that this law does not apply to emotional support animals. This is one of the key differences between ESAs and service animals. Service animals are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act and have more rights than emotional support animals.

There are no special laws or regulations regarding ESA in Texas, so here emotional support animals and their owners have the same rights as throughout the country. The basic law that also applies to the ESA is the Fair Housing Act. Since ESAs are not classified as pets, but as a method of therapy, they have the right to live freely with their owners.

Another privilege for ESA owners is the opportunity to take the animal with them to work. Although not required by law, many companies in Texas make concessions and exceptions for their employees. So if you need emotional support from an animal, let your employer know and you may be able to agree.

Learn more: Where You Have the Right to Take Your Emotional Support Animal


Owners of emotional support animals in Texas can count on protecting their rights at the state level when it comes to renting an apartment. According to the FHA, everyone has equal rights in the field of housing, regardless of their physical or mental inabilities, as well as needs related to them. In this way, it is possible to prevent discrimination against people on the basis of their “otherness”.

This law allows ESA owners in Texas to live with their pets, even in areas where pets are not normally allowed. Nevertheless, to protect the rights of landlords and to avoid passing regular pets off as ESAs, housing providers may ask you to provide an official ESA letter or other document confirming the status of the animal.

Landlords also do not have the right to charge additional fees to tenants with the ESA, nor do they have the right to deny the tenant a lease because of their pet, for no objective reason and based only on their own hostility to the animal. However, you are financially liable if your ESA poses a threat to the landlord or other tenants or damages the property.

Campus housing is also covered by the Fair Housing Act. Like landlords, universities may also require an ESA letter to confirm that the animal is registered and to determine its right to housing.

It should be noted that the Fair Housing Act does not apply to hotels and motels. If you plan to travel to Texas and stay in a hotel with ESA, you should contact the hotel management in advance to clarify the possibility of staying with the emotional support animal.

Transportation and Public Access

Beautiful womanwith dog in cafe

Because the ADA does not protect ESAs, you may be barred from using public transportation with your animal. This is especially true for large breeds, which can cause discomfort to other passengers on a bus or train. However, with small animals, such problems often do not arise, so each case is individual.

With air travel, things are a bit more complicated. Previously, the law required airlines to adapt to the needs of customers with emotional support animals, so ESAs could be beside their owners throughout the flight. However, today there is no such requirement for airlines.

Some airlines allow small animals to be carried as hand luggage. To do this, you need to prepare the necessary documents in advance, as well as purchase equipment for comfortable and safe transportation of the animal. If the company does not provide such an opportunity, the ESA can be transported with other animals in the luggage compartment.

If you’re wondering if you can take your emotional support animal to public places in Texas, the answer is usually no. Unlike a service dog, the ESA is not guaranteed entry to public places under the ADA. Also, if you intend to claim that your emotional support animal is a service dog, misrepresenting the ESA or another animal as a service dog is considered a crime and you may be charged with a fine.

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