A Guide to Therapy Animals: Dogs, Cats & More

At the ESA Registration of America, we help emotional support animal owners register their animal, purchase a therapist letter for travel and apartment rentals, and access products to make their daily lives easier. We constantly receive inquiries concerning the animal qualifications and have compiled a short discussion of important definitional differences therapy animals and emotional support animals.

What’s the difference between a therapy dog and emotional support animal?

Therapy animals come in different shapes, sizes, and animal types and provide comfort to people in hospitals, old age homes, rehabilitation facilities, and other places where therapeutic assistance could be of importance. Therapy dogs improve the lives of the people around them. However, therapy dogs do not have the same rights as emotional support animals.

There are several key differences between therapy dogs and emotional support animals. While both animals provide similar types of support, therapy dogs do not have the same rights as ESA’s. ESA’s require a prescription letter in order to travel or live in pet free housing. Therapy animals do not require prescription letters. Further, unlike service dogs, therapy dogs do not have the same special access rights.

Can I register a therapy dog?

It is important to note that our site only registers Emotional Support Animals. Therapy dogs should not be registered. However, there are excellent volunteer organizations that provide information and opportunities for therapy dog owners.

Therapy Dog International, established in 1976, offers opportunities for volunteer therapy dog handlers at nursing homes, hospitals, other institutions and wherever else therapy dogs are needed. The American Kennel Club has set up several wonderful programs across the country and offers way to record volunteer visits and reach out to volunteer organizations. However, the American Kennel Club does not offer its own therapy dog certification.

To register an Emotional Support Animal click here.

Find out more here.

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