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How-To Guide for Registering Your Support Dog

If you suffer from a psychological or mental condition, you can qualify for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) or Psychiatric Service Animal (PSA).

Table of Contents

What Counts As A Mental Disability?

Depression—6.9% of adults experienced depression in the past year.

Anxiety—In 2015, 18.1% had some sort of anxiety disorder. The numbers have grown since then.

Mood Disorder—9.7% of all US Adults experienced a Mood Disorder last year.

Bipolar Disorder—About 2.8% of Americans lived with Bipolar as of November 2017.

Panic Attacks—Approximately 4.7% of Americans have had or will have a Panic Attack at some point in their lifetime.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder—8% have PTSD today, and about 20% more will develop it in the future.

Fears and Phobias—Somewhere around 12.1% of Americans will experience a specific phobia one or more times in their lifetime.

Suicidal Tendencies or Thoughts—In 2016, 4% of those in the US, 18 years old and older, thought about suicide.

What’s the Big Deal with a Support Dog Anyway?

An Emotional Support Animal helps you get exercise.

An ESA increases serotonin and other natural feel-good chemicals.

They offer support, comfort, and nonjudgmental companionship.

An ESA helps to increase your self-esteem and security.

They can live with you in no-pet housing, fee-free.

By the way, no one is allowed to ask nor are you required to disclose any information regarding the details of your disability. However, you must submit documentation if you wish your ESA to fly or live with you in pet-restricted housing. This is why we created this easy How-To Guide for Registering YourEmotional Support Dog.

Service Animals vs. Emotional Support Animals (ESA)?

An Emotional Support Animal is a pet offering therapeutic benefits to their best friend. A Service Dog is trained for a specific task to help a disabled person. Maybe they are trained to turn on lights when their owner with PTSD is having an attack and can no longer deal with the darkness. Some are trained to interfere when their owners are self-harming, while others identify imminent anxiety attacks and help curb them by decreasing the severity and time in the panic state. Service Dogs always specialize in something particular. Service Dogs may be registered in the same manner.

How Do I Get An Emotional Support Animal?

That’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 with American Service Pets!

(1) Take our online test.

(2) A Licensed Doctor will review your case.

(3) Your ESA Letter will be processed and shipped out in 1-5 business days! We will send your ESA Letter directly to your email.

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!

What do I Need to Know About Getting an Emotional Support Dog?

You do not need to spend an arm and a leg purchasing a specific type of dog.  You can adopt a pet or keep the one you have right now! The most important thing is that you and your ESA bond. Then, all you need is an ESA Letter written by a medical professional!

Good news, by the way:

There is no size limit! Choose any size or shape you want— a mountain of muscle, a ball of fluff, or anything in between.

Your Emotional Support Dog doesn’t need any specialized training, though we do suggest basic training for your ESA to ensure he/she is well mannered in public areas. Bad behavior or lack of control can get your ESA  out on his/her tush!

How do I Register My ESA?

Registering your ESA will make your life easier! If you decide to register your best bud, we’ll ship you a link in an email that contains your ESA Letter. You’ll have the chance to make up a profile for your ESA in the American Service Pets International directory. Since many landlords require you recertify your ESA yearly, this profile will allow you to update his information any time there’s a need.

Do I Need to Identify My ESA in Public?

Service dogs are easy to identify by putting vests on them, but it is not necessary for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA). Whether your dog is large or small, having a vest on hand makes life so much easier. You won’t have to explain yourself to every nosy person, cutting down on your frustration and time. The law does NOT allow ESAs everywhere Service Dogs are. Most dogs cannot simply walk into an airport or pet-free apartment like ESAs are either.

Do You Have Any Legal Advice?

If you have any legal questions, please call a lawyer familiar with ESAs and the laws surrounding them or go right to the source, calling one of the below numbers:

Fair Housing Act (FHA): 1(800) 669-9777

Department of Justice: 1(800) 514-0301

This is the branch of the government that deals with disabled persons and their animals.

The ADA: 1(800) 949-4232

There is a complete Disability Law Handbook on their website.

If you have any other questions or concerns not covered in this How-To Guide for Registering Your Emotional Support Dog, we are here for you! We are just a click, call, or email away!

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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