What Emotional Support Animal Documentation Do You Need

Emotional Support Animal What Emotional Support Animal Documentation Do You Need

What Emotional Support Animal Documentation Do You Need

Owning dogs, cats, and other animals can have several mental health benefits, and your mental health provider may recommend getting an emotional support animal to help ease stress in your life to reduce anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions. Although they are not technically considered service animals by the ADA, they actually require more documentation than trained service animals. Landlords, business owners, and other individuals cannot legally ask for proof that a service dog (or miniature horse) is a trained service animal, but this proof is essential if you are interested in getting an emotional support animal. 

Here is an overview of the documentation you will need before getting an emotional support animal and how DoNotPay can help!

What Is an Emotional Support Animal? 

Emotional support animals fall somewhere between pets and trained service animals. Although they do not meet ADA guidelines for service dogs, as they do not perform a specific service, they can help ease their owners' symptoms of anxiety, depression, and related mental health conditions. 

Here is how an ESA can help those suffering from psychological illnesses:

DepressionEmotional support animals can help with depression by offering reassurance and companionship to people experiencing low mood or clinical depression
AnxietyEmotional support animals can provide comfort, offering affection through cuddles and give a calming and soothing presence. An ESA can also encourage healthy activities and exercise, distracting one from anxious thoughts
ADHDPeople with ADHD find life easier to live when following a schedule. An ESA is perfect for this situation as the animal must be fed, walked, and played with. An ESA can be a part of this routine, distracting those diagnosed with ADHD from stress and triggers.
PTSDPeople who suffer from post-traumatic stress are constantly afraid of being judged or criticized, emotional support animals make good companions that will do neither. ESAs can help them have more fun, worry less, relieve stress, and give them that dopamine rush. People diagnosed with PTSD can also feel detached from most of the world, but ESAs have the ability to engage the emotion of love and give them a sense of purpose. Being that an ESA is an animal it will need to be taken outside to walk or play which will also give the owner a chance to spend time in the sun and meet new people.
Fears and PhobiasSocial phobias can be crippling to those who suffer from it, but having an emotional support animal can be all they need. ESAs need to be taken out for walks and playtime which can motivate people to go outside and socialize, maybe even making it into a positive experience. Cause and effect.

For this reason, you may be able to obtain documentation in the form of an emotional support animal letter that allows you to get an animal that will benefit your mental health, even if your landlord does not allow pets. Some cities also allow owners of emotional support animals to bring these animals to the same places where trained service animals are allowed, even if pets are not, but this is not an ADA requirement and varies significantly from city to city.

What Is an Emotional Support Animal Letter? 

An emotional support animal letter verifies that your animal serves a more significant purpose than a pet, yet makes it clear that he or she is not a trained service animal. This letter, which must be written by a mental health professional (preferably the one that recommended an emotional support animal), serves as documentation that your animal qualifies as an emotional support animal. It can be presented to your landlord before getting an emotional support animal, as well as to an airline or other company to prove that the animal serves a health-related purpose and should not be considered a pet.

This letter must include:

  1. The mental health professional's contact information
  2. The mental health professional's license number and expiration date
  3. The date the letter is issued

Who Can Write an Emotional Support Animal Letter? 

Your emotional support animal letter must be written by a licensed mental health professional or other medical professionals. You have several options when it comes to finding someone to write this letter for you, but it needs to be written by someone who can legally confirm that getting an emotional service animal will benefit your mental health.

The most common professionals you can ask include:

  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Psychologist
  • Psychiatrist
  • Registered Nurse
  • Physician's Assistant
  • Licensed Social Worker (LCSW)
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT)

Some airlines like United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and American Airlines, or other organizations may require this letter to be written by a specific type of mental health professional, which means you may need to obtain a second letter if you already have one that has been sufficient for other purposes.

How to Get Emotional Support Animal Documentation By Yourself

Your first step in obtaining emotional support animal documentation should be consulting your counselor, therapist, physician, or other licensed mental health professional, as these are the only people that can legally attest to how and why owning an emotional support animal can benefit you. You will then need to submit this letter to your landlord, an airline, or another relevant company as evidence that your animal should not be categorized as a pet and ADA guidelines regarding emotional support animals must be followed.

Next Steps for Getting Emotional Support Animal Documentation if You Can't Do It Yourself

Although DoNotPay cannot write an emotional support animal letter for you, as this can legally only be done by a licensed mental health professional, we can help speed up the process if you run into problems getting that professional to respond to your request in a timely manner or convincing your landlord, an airline, or another company to honor your letter. We can contact your mental health professional on your behalf to remind him or her that you are waiting for your letter, as well as provide letters requesting your accommodation.  

Get Emotional Support Animal Documentation With the Help of DoNotPay

Here's how we can handle several aspects of owning an emotional support animal on your behalf:

  1. Search "service animal" on DoNotPay.


  2. Select the type of issue you need help with, including contacting your landlord about your ESA/service animal, asking your airline about ESA options, or requesting ESA/service accommodations at other venues.


  3. Answer a series of questions about your current situation and the details of your ESA/service animal, so we can generate the best results for you.


Once you provide us with this information, we can use it to contact the necessary parties to handle these issues on your behalf. 

Why Use DoNotPay to Get Emotional Support Animal Documentation

Many landlords do not understand the distinction of emotional support animals and may not accept your initial emotional support animal letter as evidence that the animal plays a more valuable role in your life than a pet. This is particularly true in the case of landlords that do not allow pets and would like to only allow exceptions for service animals, which emotional support animals do not meet the ADA requirements for.

We can quickly and conveniently contact your mental health professional or landlord on your behalf as a reminder to write the letter you requested or explain the legal basis of emotional support animals to help you avoid unnecessary pet fees or negative effects on your mental health that may be associated with a delay in being able to get your emotional support animal.

What Else Can DoNotPay Do? 

DoNotPay's robot lawyer makes determining how to handle a wide range of questions and taking care of them right from your laptop, tablet, or phone easier than ever.

Among dozens of other topics, we can quickly and successfully help you:

  • Obtain copies of other types of essential documents
  • Obtain pet licenses
  • Find local rental assistance options
  • Cancel free trials and old subscriptions you no longer need
  • Recover lost passwords

At DoNotPay, we are here to help make the process of obtaining the proper documentation to add an emotional support animal to your family a bit less tedious.

Contact us today to learn more about your rights and responsibilities as an emotional support animal owner or to get started!

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