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6 Rules You Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

As more and more people turn to Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) for help navigating through life, questions continue to come up about if  these animals are a necessity.

The truth is, life is difficult and our animals help tremendously. We know that Emotional Support Animals are a necessity.

Planing on having an ESA or already have one? Become familiar with these 6 rules when taking an ESA in public:

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Special training is not required for Emotional Support Animals.

While the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) does specify that service animals be trained and certified, it does not have a similar requirement for ESAs. Any animal can be designated as ESA. They do, however, need to be well-behaved and controlled by their owners at all times.

Emotional Support Animals can be denied access to public places.

Unlike trained service animals, ESAs do not have to be allowed in public places. Such places may include restaurants, museums, malls, or even parks. However, there is one exception – airlines. By having a letter from a doctor prescribing an ESA for your emotional comfort, an airline cannot deny you. During any flight, your ESA will be able to ride with you in the cabin.

Your landlord must allow an Emotional Support Animal.

It does not matter whether your building allows pets or not; ESAs must be permitted by ADA regulations if a doctor deems the animal necessary for your emotional or mental well-being.

Your landlord cannot charge you a pet fee for an ESA.

According to federal law, a landlord or property manager may not charge a tenant extra fees for approving an ESA. This includes pet fees, cleanup fees, etc.

ESA or PSA Certification?

The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!

Emotional Support Animals do not have to do a specific job.

Unlike service animals, ESAs are not required to perform any specific task. For example, providing guidance or knowing how to alert a human if an emergency occurs. Their job is to offer comfort and support only.

No one can require you to explain your need for an Emotional Support Animal.

You are not required to tell anyone why your doctor has prescribed you an ESA. An ESA letter may be required, but the reasons behind it are personal and can be kept confidential.   It is completely up to you whether or not you want to share your personal issues with anyone.

There are many Americans who suffer from some sort of mental affliction. It’s important to remember what kind of impact an ESA can have on someone’s life. Whether a person is suffering from anxiety or depression, many times they turn to their pets for help.  Please remember to keep the above 6 rules in mind so that Americans who are suffering can continue to be prescribed ESAs.

Get Your ESA Today


Due to the new Department of Transportation (DOT) policy, Emotional Support Animals are NO longer allowed to fly in airplane cabins for free. However, Psychiatric Service Dogs are eligible.


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