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Can I Take My Emotional Support Dog Anywhere?

Table of Contents

An older man with his small white and tan dog.

Do you have an emotional support animal? These are great animals to have if you are suffering from PTSD, depression, or anxiety. Emotional support animals are not the same as a service animal.

Emotional support animals only help their owner emotionally; they do not provide any physical service to their owner.  These dogs can go to a few places with you, but they cannot go into all establishments.

This article will explain what an emotional support animal is, how they can help you, and where you can take your emotional support animal.


What is an Emotional Support Dog?

The American Disability Act (ADA) cites emotional support animals as those that bring emotional support and stability to those suffering from diagnosed medical or emotional disorders. They can include dogs, cats, rodents, birds, and even some reptiles.

To acquire an emotional support animal, you will need to be diagnosed by a licensed medical professional. You can have an existing pet can as an emotional support animal (ESA), or you can apply for a new pet through the proper channels. An emotional support animal is NOT a service dog.

A service dog is different from an emotional support animal. A service animal is trained to do specific tasks such as to assist those with diagnosed disabilities such as blindness, PTSD, narcolepsy, and loss of motor function.


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Types of support animals

Almost any animal can be an emotional support animal. The most common type is a dog or a cat, but there are people with all kinds of animals as support animals. Some types of emotional support animals are:

  • Dogs (most common)

  • Cats

  • Pig

  • Monkey

  • Duck

  • Turtle

  • Peacock

No matter what type of animal you chose, they can help provide you with the emotional support that you need to carry out everyday life functions. Animals are always bringing joy to people’s lives and are great to have if your suffering from an emotional issue.


Where can you take an emotional support dog?

There are many places that you can take your emotional support animal that not all normal pets are allowed to go to. Being able to take your emotional support animal in these places. These are two common places that Emotional support animals are allowed

  • APARTMENTS: The fair housing act states that a legitimate emotional support animal may live in an apartment, even if the building is marked “no pets.” College dorms have also been included in this and have been financially penalized under the Fair Housing Act for not complying.This act allows service and emotional support animals to stay with those people with an approved disability. Emotion support animals are usually allowed to stay in an apartment without having to pay a pet deposit or pet rent.
  • AIRPLANES: Air Carrier Access Act allows for ESAs on airlines, provided the proper instructions are followed.Emotional support animals are allowed to fly with their owners on the airplane. Most airlines do not charge you an additional fee for your emotional support animal to fly on the plane with you. No matter how big or small your emotional support animal is, they can ride with you on the airplane. They will sit on the floor under your feet or under the seat in front of you. Your dog does not have to stay in a cage while you fly. Small dogs can even sit in your lap during the flight. Many large dogs have safely accompanied their owners on the airplane inside the cabin.

Where can you NOT take an emotional support dog?

Emotional support animals do not have nearly the same rights and privileges as a service animal. Emotional support animals are allowed in some places that regular dogs cannot go into.

Before taking your dog to one of these places, it is best to call and ask if your dog will be allowed to go inside. These are some common places that you may have trouble getting your emotional support dog into.

  • Hotels and Air BnB’s: Hotels and AirBnBs are not required to allow emotional support animals. If you are planning to stay at one with an ESA and they are not pet-friendly, they may still allow you to stay with your animal if you can and request a special allowance.
  • Restaurants: Restaurants and stores are under no requirement to allow ESAs. If you are asked to take your animal outside, then there is no choice but to comply. Some restaurants still allow your emotional support dog to go with you.
  • Jobs: Workplaces are not required to allow ESAs on their property. An allowance must be requested through the proper channels. Some workplaces have recently started allowing pets to come to work. Studies have shown that having a pet in the workplace has increase production and overall morale of the employees.

Emotional support animals can be very helpful for people who are suffering from PTSD, anxiety, or depression. These dogs can help these people function in the outside world. These dogs not only bring happiness to their owners’ life but also the people around them.

By being able to live with your dog in an apartment or take your dog with you on vacation will really help your quality of life. Emotional support animals help their owners live a healthy and happy life.


Meet The Author 

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM

Veterinarian

Since she was a little girl, Dr. Ochoa knew that her dream was to become a veterinarian. With a tremendous passion and love for animals, she is now a great source of knowledge for others. Dr. Ochoa lives happily with her husband Greg and her babies: Ruby the Schnoodle and Bam-Bam the bunny.



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