Amazing Facts About Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are pets that provide therapeutic benefits to their owner through affection and companionship. It just makes sense that spending time in the company of a loving, loyal, dependable creature would help alleviate symptoms of mental illness.

Before you run out and pick up a new dog or cat at the pet store, though, there’s some information you should have about the rules, regulations, and registration of ESAs.

Read on to get you one step closer to bringing your new ESA home! The more you know about emotional support from animals, the better it sounds.

What Is an Emotional Support Animal?

Interestingly, what constitutes an ESA depends more on you than on the animal. Any animal can qualify to be an ESA with the proper medical paperwork and ESA Registration.

The license and registration process separates ESAs from just regular pets. An animal must register as an ESA to receive special consideration in public places.

Per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service providers must honor accommodations for emotional support animals and service animals.

For instance, a landlord might prohibit dogs and other pets. However, the U.S. Department of Housing requires that they honor the ESA registration and allow them anyways (with a pet deposit perhaps) for the health and well-being of the tenant.

Airlines and restaurants are also places that must allow these licensed emotional support animals.

Reasons for an Emotional Support Animal

The use of an emotional support animal has risen in popularity in the past decade. It is now a primary source of support for many psychiatric afflictions, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Therapeutic Support

A conversation with your primary care doctor and a mental health professional can determine if an animal is a proper therapeutic measure for your specific mental illness. An ESA can work alongside prescribed medication or other types of psychiatric service.

Anxiety and Depression

An ESA can drastically improve a person’s quality of life, helping them through sometimes debilitating anxiety and depression symptoms.

These conditions are common reasons therapists suggest emotional support animals, but that list is non-exhaustive. One person’s disability is nothing like another’s, so a pet that provides emotional support may help with various conditions besides these.

PTSD and Veteran Support

It’s become widespread to see veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder rely on ESA pets. The animals provide emotional assistance for many specific ailments related to their trauma.

How Do I Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal?

There’s no set-in-stone way to qualify for an ESA. It’s between you and a trusted mental health professional to determine if this route is a viable one for you.

Once you’ve received the go-ahead for an ESA pet, though, you’ll need to follow both federal and state protocol for licensing and registration. One requirement across the board is a letter of clarification from your doctor or therapist.

Local law might vary, so research the requirements and paperwork you’ll need to bring your new emotional support dog around with you.

An animal, such as a dog or cat, can do wonders for mental health. Request to talk to your doctor or therapist about therapeutic animal companionship. They will provide a psychiatric assessment and furnish a letter verifying that the person would benefit from this type of animal.

Once you have these items, you can sign up for free registration and be on your way to becoming the proud owner of an emotional support animal.

Where Can I Take My Emotional Support Animal?

Once you have the required paperwork, your new ESA pet can accompany you to all sorts of places, including ones that may otherwise prohibit pets.


Housing authorities, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), mandate that landlords allow pets used for emotional support purposes, given they have the proper documentation.

Airlines and Public Transportation

The Department of Transportation also makes allowances and reasonable accommodation for dogs, cats, and other critters for a person who needs emotional support.

Airlines will grant access to emotional support animals. It helps travelers manage the high levels of stress and anxiety caused by flying. Often, ESAs can even fly with their owner for free.

Public Facilities

With a legitimate letter from a medical professional, the law is very much in favor of the person in need of the emotional support dog or cat to access public services. Public facilities cannot deny a person services based on their ESA.

Emotional Support Animal vs. a Service Animal

People often mix up emotional support animals with service animals. While there is a lot of crossover in terms of the accommodations offered to owners of such pets, let’s be very clear that an emotional support dog is not a service dog and vice versa.

The reasonable accommodation made for such assistance animals is often the same. However, the difference lies in their training and purpose.

Emotional support animals help with mental illness. Service animals assist individuals with physical disabilities. While a trained service animal can fulfill some psychiatric service, the division is mainly mental health versus physical health.

Service dogs go through extensive training to perform tasks for people with a wide range of disabilities. Once trained, these service dogs have the ability to perform incredible tasks to help a person get through the day despite their disability.

A person whose disability includes vision impairment can have their dog alert them to dangers they can’t see. Besides vision, service dogs can help with mobility issues, hearing disorders, epilepsy, and autism. A trained service dog might even be able to detect changes in blood sugar if their owner has diabetes!

Once trained, their registration process looks slightly different, as it requires more specific certifications than ESAs. A service dog registration might require proof of their performance qualifications.

All this is to say that you should not mix up the requirements for a service dog versus an ESA. While ESAs primarily specialize in emotional support, service animals provide a wide range of highly specified tasks.

Emotional Support Animal Statistics and Facts

  1. Any dog can qualify for an ESA evaluation letter in two easy steps by clicking here!
  2. An ESA may fly in a commercial airline cabin with their handler without paying a pet fee!
  3. ESAs are permissible in any housing unit (apartment, house, college dorm, etc.) even if the housing unit has a “no pet housing” policy.
  4. Unlike Service Dogs, ESAs require no specific training! They just need to have a warm heart!
  5. There are no size restrictions to ESA dogs! As long as they are kind and gentle, they can go in any airline or housing unit!
  6. ESAs come in different breeds and animal types, not just dogs! Rabbits, cats, small pigs, and birds can also qualify to be ESAs!
  7. Having an ESA pet can help reduce your blood pressure!
  8. ESAs have proven to help people manage high amounts of stress!
  9. ESAs can help with emotional and psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, PTSD, and more!
  10. The ESA Registration of America has received hundreds of excellent reviews from people with Emotional Support Animals!


An emotional support dog, cat, or another critter can offer substantial benefits to your life. Tons of anecdotal and scientific evidence prove that ESAs contribute to incredible strides in improving mental health.

Before you rush out to find your new dog or cat friend, just make sure you follow all the necessary steps to get ready. You’ll need the proper evaluation from a licensed doctor or therapist and the registration paperwork so that your companion can be welcome anywhere.

After that, you’ll be all set to begin your happy, healthy life with your ESA.

What are the benefits of having an emotional support animal?

Emotional support animals provide several benefits, including:

1. Emotional support: They can offer comfort, companionship, and unconditional love, helping to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
2. Increased well-being: Interacting with an emotional support animal can promote a sense of happiness, improve mood, and boost overall well-being.
3. Social support: Emotional support animals can enhance social interactions, provide a sense of belonging, and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
4. Stress reduction: Spending time with an emotional support animal can lower blood pressure, decrease stress hormones, and promote relaxation.
5. Improved physical health: Owning an emotional support animal has been linked to improved cardiovascular health, increased physical activity, and better overall health outcomes.
6. Structure and routine: Caring for an emotional support animal can provide structure and a sense of purpose, which can be especially beneficial for individuals with mental health conditions.
7. Enhanced emotional awareness: Emotional support animals can help individuals become more attuned to their emotions, recognize triggers, and develop coping strategies.
8. Increased confidence: Interacting with an emotional support animal can boost self-esteem, improve confidence, and provide a sense of empowerment.

It’s important to note that emotional support animals are different from service animals and have different legal protections.

What is true about an emotional support animal?

An emotional support animal (ESA) provides therapeutic support to individuals with emotional or mental health conditions. ESAs do not require specialized training and can assist in alleviating symptoms and providing comfort. However, unlike service animals, ESAs are not granted public access rights and are protected under different legal regulations, such as the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act.

What is the most common emotional support animal?

The most common emotional support animal is a dog.

How do emotional support animals help with anxiety?

Emotional support animals can help with anxiety by providing companionship and emotional comfort. Their presence can help reduce feelings of loneliness and provide a sense of security. Interacting with an emotional support animal has been found to increase the release of oxytocin and decrease the production of cortisol, which can promote relaxation and reduce anxiety symptoms.