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Getting an Emotional Support Animal In California

Getting an Emotional Support Animal In California

When it comes to obtaining an emotional support animal (ESA)  in California, there are a few facts you need to know about the ESA letter process and ESA laws.

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Emotional Support Animals 

Emotional support dogs and cats are the usual choices, but there are other animals that can be an ESA in California. Rabbits and birds are also popular choices for emotional treatment. Unlike service animals in California, ESA’s do not have to be trained in a specific way. They are simply there for emotional support and not an intended task.

ESA Letter

Before registering your pet as an emotional support animal, it is required that you have an ESA letter first. To get an emotional support animal letter in California, you must be diagnosed with an emotional disability. Some of these disabilities are phobias, depression, learning disorders, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, etc. A medical professional can provide the diagnosis, but regular doctors are not always as informed about the need for an ESA.

American Service Pets can make the task simple by conducting an online exam and getting a doctor’s approval. It makes the process easy because you can request to have the exam approved completely online. Once approved, your emotional support animal letter will be sent right to your email.

ESA Laws in California

While the same laws do not apply to emotional support animals, as they do to service animals, ESA’s are still safe. There are two specific acts that cover the protection of ESA. The ACAA (Air Carrier Access Act) and the FHAA (Federal Housing Amendment Act) help protect ESA’s rights for both traveling and housing accommodations.

The ACAA comes in handy when traveling because this act allows you and your ESA to travel together without being separated. For larger breeds, airlines must make accommodations for both you and your ESA, to ensure you stay close to each other through the entire flight.

The FHAA covers housing accommodations, which usually pertains to rental properties. Under the FHAA an emotional support animal must stay with the tenant in their living space, with no restrictions.  This means that the breed does not matter, nor does the size. The ESA can also be acceptable in a property that has a “no pet” policy in place.


Aside from airplanes and apartments, there are many limitations to public places that will allow
emotional support animals. Public areas that already allow animals or pets to be present are perfectly okay. You may come across other public areas that only allow a specific animal, such as an emotional support dog. It is up to the sole discretion of the public property owner to allow or deny an ESA’s presence.

By knowing all of this information ahead of time, it can make the process of obtaining and registering an ESA that much easier.

At we are here to help you every step of the way.

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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