Everything You Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

By Robert Fabiano
Dec. 06, 2019

Emotional support animals (ESAs) refer to dogs and other pets that provide emotional support and comfort to their owners on a daily basis. ESAs legally must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional like a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.

Emotional support animals differ from service dogs in a few key ways. Service dogs have been trained to perform specific tasks for individuals, and as such, as usually granted access to anywhere their owner goes. Emotional support animals do not require any specific training, although owners should make sure they’re well-trained in public. ESAs are not granted access to establishments such as restaurants or malls like service dogs are.

Individuals with ESAs are afforded some additional rights, such as the ability to live in otherwise non-pet-friendly housing under the Fair Housing Act. Additionally, the Air Carrier Access Act allows both service animals and ESAs to accompany their owners in the cabin of an aircraft during flights. Emotional support animals provide a valuable service to those who need it but misrepresenting a pet as an ESA is both unethical and illegal in some states.

Emotional Support Animal Letter

As mentioned, and can only be issued by an LMHP, and should recognize that you are a patient under his/her care for mental and emotional disabilities.

The letter should prescribe an or for you as a necessary reinforcement for your mental well-being.

Letters are usually issued under the LMHP's letterhead and include licensing details and information for further correspondence with the LMHP if required.