The Ultimate Resource For Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

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SitStay Blog: The Ultimate Resource For Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

An emotional support animal can help you with many different types of emotional and mental challenges. Here are some of the most common questions about emotional support animals.

What Is An Emotional Support Animal?

An emotional support animal is any animal that helps someone with psychiatric or mental issues to lead a more fulfilling and normal life. While these animals don't require any specific training, they are much more than pets. These animals provide you with therapeutic benefits based on companionship. While dogs and cats are the most common types of emotional support animal, any species that can be kept as a pet can be an emotional support animal. 

Who Qualifies For an Emotional Support Animal?

You qualify for an emotional support animal if you have a mental or psychiatric disability. This includes PTSD, depression, anxiety disorder, autism, and phobias. An emotional support animal must be prescribed by a licensed medical or psychiatric professional.

What Rights Do Emotional Support Animals Have?

Emotional support animals do not qualify as service animals, so they aren't allowed in most public places. However, landlords must make reasonable accommodations to allow you to have an emotional support animal. Reasonable accommodation means that your request can be denied if it places an undue financial burden on the housing provider, or if it is determined to be dangerous. This can also include that if your animal is making it impossible for others to live there, you can be asked to leave. Laws also allow emotional support animals to fly in the cabin with their owners in most cases. 

What Documentation Is Required For an Emotional Support Animal?

You will need documentation to have your animal classified as an emotional support animal. If you intend to travel with your animal, you will need an ESA Letter. You can get an ESA letter from your doctor or a mental health professional. Your physician will determine if you have a legitimate need for an emotional support animal and if your animal helps alleviate your condition. 

Your ESA letter needs to be on a letterhead or RX paper and while it needs to specify that you need an emotional support animal as a treatment for your disability, the disability does not need to be identified on the letter because of HIPPA rights.

If you have specific questions or feel like you have been unjustly denied your housing for your need of an emotional support animal, contact your nearest Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office.

Emotional support animals are shown to lower stress levels and help to alleviate the symptoms of mental and psychiatric conditions. You have the right to a happy an independent life, and an emotional support animal can help you achieve it. 

4 Responses

Pamela M.F. Connell
Pamela M.F. Connell

July 02, 2018

I have 2 dogs, 1 of which I would LoVe to have as an E.S.A., what can I do if anything!?


March 01, 2018

I want to train dogs (in specific a German Shepherd in this case) to become a PTSD ESA, so, even though they aren’t fully trained yet or not needed yet. Can I, in the meantime, when training them have them wear a vest that says “ESA in training”? Or would that be illegal too?

The reason why we might need a PTSD EMA is, because my boyfriend is joining the U.S. Marine Corps and I’d rather have an already trained dog in case we need it.

SitStay Hannah
SitStay Hannah

October 16, 2017

Thanks for reaching out to us! We have some great options for emotional support dogs including ID tags and patches. ( that will help to identify Jimmy as an ESA.

hazel daniel
hazel daniel

October 15, 2017

I am 73 and was married 50 yrs to my husband and he passed away on valentines day in 2015 so I spend a lot of time and Fort Logan cemetery and for two yrs they said nothing to me about jimmy my dog he is a papalon and follows me every where I go but now I need a support tag so he can come with me please help me

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