For people who have anxiety and other mental health conditions, adopting an emotional support animal can help keep them calm during stressful situations. To register your cat or dog as an emotional support animal, you’ll need to visit a doctor or go through an organization like Emotional Pet Support for official approval.
In this post, you’ll learn more about what it takes to get your pet registered as an emotional support animal in the United States. You’ll also learn how Emotional Pet Support can help with the process, including an overview of their services and how to access them.
Emotional support animal basics
Emotional support animals (often shortened to ESAs) are pets that are officially certified to provide companionship and support to their owners, who are dealing with mental health problems.
In order for your pet to qualify as an ESA, you’ll need to get an official letter from a licensed medical professional. Your letter must certify your mental health condition and your need for animal companionship. What’s the main benefit of registering your pet as an emotional support animal? Once registered, they’ll be able to accompany you on planes and legally live in your apartment or rented home.
While those requirements are relatively straightforward, things get a bit murky from there. For instance, there isn’t any central or official database where emotional support animals are registered.
In practical terms, this means that if you plan on taking your pet on a plane, you’ll need to present your doctor’s letter to an airline representative if they ask for your pet’s certification.
Unfortunately, people have occasionally taken advantage of the system so they could bring their pet along on their travels. As a result, some airlines have banned certain emotional support animals from coming on board.
How does Emotional Pet Support work?
There are many businesses that offer to handle the logistics of registering your emotional support animal for you. Emotional Pet Support is one of these companies.
In order to use their services, you’ll first need to fill out their online questionnaire. It includes questions about your mental health, home life, and work situation. You’ll rate your agreement with statements such as:
- I’m finding that anxiety and restlessness are disrupting my everyday lifestyle
- I feel overwhelmed by my current life circumstances
- I feel burdened by my current life circumstances
From there, a doctor will evaluate your responses. If they determine that you qualify, then they will provide your emotional support animal documentation. Emotional Pet Support will send you a physician-certified document that includes your doctor’s name, license number, and your diagnosis. Optionally, you can purchase additional letters explicitly intended for air travel and housing purposes.
If you believe that you’re eligible for an emotional support animal, Emotional Pet Support can help you secure the right documentation. Before you sign up, check out online reviews from pet owners who have used the service. You can also get in touch with the company via their website to ask specific questions about what they offer.
For more pet ownership resources, check out the PetPonder blog.