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Emotional Support Animals -- ESA

Emotional Support Animal Requirements

Do you need a cat to meet the emotional support needs of yourself or your child? Ragdolls make wonderful ESA's!! Emotional Support Animals are simply there for companionship, affection, and to provide comfort to their owner. Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are designed for people in distress. It can be any animal that give you or your child emotional support. Common conditions requiring emotional support animals include (partial list): anxiety, autism, depression, bipolar disorder/mood disorder, panic attacks, PTSD, fear/phobias and other psychological and emotional conditions. The bond people have with their emotional support animals can be very important in helping to ease the symptoms of those conditions

What you need to qualify


In order to have a legitimate support animal, you will need to obtain an emotional support animal letter which you can only get by speaking with a licensed mental health professional.  This letter confirms your need for the support animal and states that you are under the care of a licensed doctor or therapist who has prescribed to you an emotional support animal because he/she believes that the animal helps alleviate your symptoms and brings you therapeutic benefits. It’s best to get the letter from your current provider that is familiar with you and your circumstances. See for more info. It applies to any emotional support animal. This gives you the requirements to be included in the letter from your mental health care professional.

Any animal or breed can qualify as an emotional support animal. Registration products from help you bring your dog, cat, or other ESA with you in the cabin of the airplane, in hotels or housing units with reduced questioning and less hassle!  Always have your registration information with you!!


Please check with your airlines before assuming you will be able to board with your animal. Different airlines have their own rules, and some have discontinued allowing Emotional Support Animals to accompany their owners.

Check with your place of lodging and inform them of your ESA and bring your documentation. They may require you to send that ahead of your trip. They may call and verify the validity of your letter.


Equal access in housing

Under the Fair Housing Act, people with disabilities who require the presence of an ESA must be accommodated to allow their ESA with them into housing, possibly without extra fees and pet deposits, even in establishments that forbid pets. If you do not have a legitimate registration, you can be sued to pay all the fees you would have paid and other penalties, as well as court costs. Not a good idea!

While a vest, leash, tag, collar, and other accessories are NOT a requirement for emotional support animals, they can often be helpful in clarifying that your animal is an emotional support animal and reducing questions about your animal. I read recently that people have been creating their own "Service Animal" vests for their unqualified and unregistered pets. This can get you into a lot of trouble. Authorities can verify your letter to make sure it is legitimate.


DIY guide to training your own emotional support dog

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