Is Your Animal an Emotional Support Animal?

Emotional Support Animals help people with their anxieties.

Julian Omidi discusses the rules of using an animal as an emotional support animal.

Emotional support animals help many people who have different psychological issues. They can be used for many reasons like reducing anxiety when flying, as well as out in public if you have problems around large groups of people. However, the rules and regulations behind qualifying an emotional support animal vary. Today, we’ll look at whether or not your pet could possibly considered an emotional support animal.

The Rules Behind Emotional Support Animal

Emotional Support Animals or ESA are animals that are prescribed for a person by a mental health professional. They are different from service animals, as they are in a different classification of animals. They require no training, like a service dog.

Emotional Support Animals can be allowed on planes as well as in housing that doesn’t allow pets. That’s because, by law, people are allowed to have these animals with a letter written by a qualified health professional.

Patients must:

  • Must have an emotional or mental disorder established by the DSM V
  • An animal must be in need while flying and at a person’s destination
  • The person prescribing the letter of accommodation is a licensed mental health professional

How can you get a letter of accommodation?

If you have a mental or emotional disorder you feel is necessary for an emotional support animal, you’ll want to talk to a licensed mental health professional. They may require an evaluation to determine whether or not you have a mental or emotional disorder classified in the DSM V.

After assessing your disorder, they will provide you with a letter of accommodation which you then can present at an airline or housing facility. In most cases, an airline may not ask questions once you present them with your letter of accommodation, since health laws respect a person’s privacy.

Emotional Support Animals aren’t for everyone. You may believe you need one, only to learn that you do not qualify. If you do meet the requirements, your pet may qualify, since emotional support animals don’t require any special training. Your mental health professional will be able to provide more information. This is just another way that animals help humans.

Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi is co-founder of Animal Support, a nonprofit that works to help animals in need.