Can my pet qualify to be an ESA?
All domesticated animals qualify to be an Emotional Support Animal (cats, dogs, rabbits and birds) and they can be any age* (young puppies and kittens, too!). These animals do not need any specific task-training because their very presence mitigates the symptoms associated with a person’s psychological/emotional disability, unlike a working service dog. The only requirement is that the animal is manageable in public and does not create a nuisance in or around the home setting.
As an ESA requires no training, the question is how do you get an emotional support animal? If you have a pet that soothes your emotional, mental or psychological disorder in such a way that no other treatment allows you to live a normal, productive and anxiety-free daily life, then you may have an emotional support animal prescribed to you by a therapist or mental health professional.
If you are prescribed an ESA, and your landlord charges you a pet fee, it is illegal for them to do so under the Fair Housing Act.
If you have a support animal and need to travel by plane, you can take your ESA with you without having to pay the pet airline fee, under the Air Carrier Access Act of the US Department of Transportation.
In both scenarios, all you need is a letter from a mental health professional, unless the airline or landlord have their own forms, in which case, your therapist can fill those out, too. But if you are unable to obtain a prescription for an emotional support animal from your therapist, you can purchase your emotional support letter for housing or air travel from our licensed psychologist.
Learn more about what disabilities qualify for a companion or emotional support animal, and how you can qualify for an ESA letter on our FAQ.
*Some airlines require animals to be 8 weeks or older for travel purposes.