Last Updated on February 9, 2022 by Dogs Vets
Want To Register Your Dog As An ESA? Here’s What You Need To Know
You love your pet. You treat them like family, but they can’t come everywhere with you.
But what if there was a way to get the emotional support of your dog while also leaving your home? There is! All you need is an ESA certification for your furry friend and this guide will tell you everything you need to know about getting it done.
Who Needs Emotional Support Animals?
Emotional support animals (ESA) are here to provide emotional support to their owners when they need it most. They help ease many symptoms of anxiety, depression, or PTSD that may be affecting the owner.
The emotional support animal registration process tests that the animals are actually providing such support. These types of animals can be helpful for veterans, people who are on the autism spectrum, people who suffer from depression or anxiety, and even people with psychotic disorders.
To be classified as an emotional support animal, a dog must provide some form of therapeutic benefit to its owner. Examples include:
Preventing panic attacks by sleeping next to their owner and keeping them calm. Keeping depressive episodes at bay and making them more comfortable. Reassuring and comforting their owner when they’re having an episode of PTSD.
These animals provide their owners with a great deal of relief and support through difficult times and can even increase the overall quality of life for those who struggle with debilitating symptoms.
However, ESAs aren’t just for those struggling with mental illness – they can also help those with physical disabilities as well!
What Is The Difference Between ESAs And Service Animals?
ESAs are not service animals. Service animals must be able to perform certain tasks for their owner in order to provide them with assistance. Emotional support dogs can only provide support to their owners. They aren’t trained to perform tasks.
That doesn’t mean that you can just let your dog do whatever it wants once they are an emotional support animal – they still need to be well-behaved and follow the rules of your apartment complex, so it’s up to you to ensure they meet those requirements before you get the ESA registration.
What Are The Requirements For Getting An ESA Registration?
In order to register your dog as an emotional support animal, it must be able to provide therapeutic benefits to its owner.
If you don’t struggle with any of the above conditions and simply want to be able to bring your pet with you in public, they will not qualify under emotional support animal registration.
If you do, however, meet the requirements for an ESA dog – your furry friend can become a registered emotional support dog before you know it! In order to get the ball rolling on this process, you’ll need to provide a letter from your mental health professional that states you are their patient and how your dog is able to help.
You will also need to submit proof that your dog can behave in public by providing a document showing they’re up-to-date on all vaccines, registered with the county, and current on their rabies vaccine (if they’re over the age of four months).
Of course, if your dog isn’t currently vaccinated or hasn’t been microchipped, you’ll need to take care of those needs first.
If you provide all this documentation and proof as well as a letter from your therapist stating why your dog is beneficial to you and how it helps manage symptoms, you should be good to go!
What If My Dog Isn’t A Dog?
If your pet is a cat, bird, ferret, rabbit, or any other animal that provides emotional support for your mental health issues, they are still able to get ESA registration. You will need to provide all the documentation above in addition to a letter from your mental health professional.
Keep in mind that if you have more than one ESA registered animal, all of them are required to be up-to-date on their vaccines and not more than four months behind on rabies vaccinations.
What Are The Benefits Of Having An Emotional Support Dog?
Once you get your emotional support animal registered, the benefits are limitless! You’ll be able to bring your dog with you in places that otherwise might not accept pets.
There are still some places your dog can’t go, like airplanes. ESAs were allowed on airplanes but recently airlines have banned ESAs altogether.
For those with PTSD, ESAs can be a great help in their day-to-day lives. They provide comfort and companionship when needed. If you have a social anxiety disorder or are simply feeling down, having an ESA dog will make you feel better by simply snuggling with them.
And the best part? They won’t be leaving your side anytime soon. ESAs are protected under federal law and you can legally take them anywhere you go, even if there are breed or size restrictions!
For more information on bringing an ESA to specific places, contact the National Service Animal Registry.
How To Train Your Dog To Be An ESA
Once you have your emotional support animal registration, it’s time to train your dog! This is especially important if you plan on bringing them to places where pets are normally not allowed.
Luckily, training an ESA isn’t all that different from training a regular pet. You’ll need to have them trained in basic commands before being able to take the next steps in training them to be an emotional support animal and keep their calm and cool at all times.
Training your emotional support animal can be as simple as enrolling them in a training course. There are many dog trainers out there who specialize in ESA dogs and can help you train your furry friend to be the perfect representative of the ESAR community.
Enroll them in a program and slowly work on implementing those skills into everyday situations so they’re ready for the real world!
When you’re ready to train your dog and register them as an ESA, don’t forget that it’s important they understand basic commands.
You’ll want them to know how to sit, stay, come when called, and more before enrolling in a training course or class.
They should also be registered with the county if applicable (check your area) and current on their rabies vaccination for dogs over four months old. Once all of these requirements are met, you can begin training your pet!
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