Emotional Support Dog Information
Emotional support dogs are dogs that provide comfort and support in forms of affection and companionship for an individual suffering from various mental and emotional conditions. An emotional support dog is not required to perform any specific tasks for a disability like service dogs are. They are meant solely for emotional stability and unconditional love. They can assist with conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder/mood disorder, panic attacks, fear/phobias, and other psychological and emotional conditions.
Emotional support dogs are protected under federal law
Under the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), an individual who meets the proper criteria is entitled to an emotional support dog to assist them with their life. The FHAA protects individuals by allowing their emotional support dog to live with them (even when there are no pet policies in place). The ACAA protects individuals by allowing the emotional support dog to fly with them in the cabin of an airplane (without having to pay any additional fees). Any dog can be an emotional support dog, and emotional support dogs do not have to be professionally-trained.
Identifying emotional support dogs for the public
Emotional support dogs are often identified by wearing an emotional support dog vest or tag, letting the public know that it is an emotional support dog; otherwise, their handlers will find themselves having to explain that their dog is an emotional support dog. Some businesses, such as airlines, prefer to see an identification card or vest that indicates that the dog is an emotional support dog.
List of Disabilities
An emotional support dog can assist with various kinds of mental and emotional conditions.
Here is a list of some mental and emotional conditions individuals may have that may be helped by having an emotional support dog:
- Bipolar disorder
- Mood disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Suicidal Thoughts/Tendencies
- Adjustment Disorders
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Separation anxiety
- Dissociative Disorders
- Factitious Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Impulse-Control Disorders
- Mental Disorders Due to a General Medical Condition
- Neurocognitive Disorders
- Mood Disorders
- Neurodevelopmental Disorders
- Personality Disorders
- Psychotic Disorders
- Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders
- Sleep Disorders
- Somatoform Disorders
- Substance Related Disorders
Studies have shown real health benefits for those living with pets, including
- lower cholesterol
- lower blood pressure
- lower triglyceride
- reduced stress levels
- reduced feelings of loneliness
- better mental health
- increased activity
- more opportunities for exercise
- more time spent outdoors (for dog owners especially)
- more opportunities for socialization
Do you have a Disability?
The National Institute of Mental Health shows that more than 1 in 4 adults in the United States have some form of mental disorder. If you are suffering from an emotional or psychological condition then you are entitled to an emotional support dog. Consult with your physician for more information.
Living With Your Emotional Support Dog
The Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) gives individuals the right to live with their emotional support dog regardless of any building or residences with a no-pet policy. Building managers or landlords may not refuse your emotional support dog with the proper documentation.
Flying With Your Emotional Support Dog
The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) allows emotional support dogs on airplanes when individuals with emotional support dogs are traveling. A written note from your doctor is required by the airlines that is not more than one year old. Also, (example letters are included with your order) your emotional support dog must be trained to behave appropriately in a public setting. There is no additional charge to travel with your emotional support dog. You should let your airline know 24 hours before your scheduled departure that you are bringing an emotional support dog onto the plane.
- Charge pet rent or pet deposits for Emotional Support Animals
- Require an Emotional Support Animal to have any specific training
- Inquire about the extent of the disability, or ask for detailed medical records for the individual requesting the service or emotional support animal
Federal Law Prohibits Discrimination Of Breed,Size,Training Level Or Age Of Any Emotional Support Or Service Dog.
Emotional support dogs do not have to be trained to perform any specific task. Service dogs can be trained by their owners or in any other manner the owner desires to assist them with their disability.
People With Service Animals Must Be Allowed Access To All Public Accommodations. This right takes precedence over all state and local laws which might otherwise prohibit animals in those places such as Stores, Malls, Restaurants, Hotels/Resorts, Airlines,Cruises, Taxi cabs, Buses just to name a few.
The Americans with Disabilities Act, also known as the ADA, clearly states that proof of “certification” cannot be required by any facility or business for legal access if you meet the requirements for a person with a legal disability, and your dog meets the requirements of a service animal. We understand this is impossible to enforce the law. Be sure to have a proper id card to avoid the public conflicts.
While many business owners and establishments are ignorant of this law, ID Badges will have all of the necessary information should they require further explanation regarding your rights when accompanied by your Service Dog. Many over the years have reported that upon showing of a badge the inquiry about the dog ended.
Traveling with your Service Dog Customized Service Dog ID Badges can help make traveling on commercial airlines much, much easier. The Department of Transportation, also known as D.O.T., Service Animal Guidance for airlines states the following:
Carriers shall accept as evidence that an animal is a service animal identifiers such as identification cards, other written documentation, presence of harnesses,tags or the credible verbal assurances of a qualified individual with a disability using the animal.
Please note that the Department of Transportation lists identification cards at the top of their list and only verbal assurance is at the bottom. Many owners of service dogs have reported that the airlines have required some sort of identification even though by law they are not allowed to do this. Please understand that you are NOT required by law to carry one of these cards, however, they can dramatically speed up your process of getting through airport security, etc. without arguments or confrontations.
Many landlords and business owners request to see registration paperwork or other identification and even though such paperwork is not required under law, it is often proven easier to provide the requester with a registration document or ID rather than argue the point or attempt to educate the person/landlord. Identification & proper paperwork will without a doubt avoid landlord conflicts about the validity of your service animal.
Most Common Reasons To Register Service Dogs,Emotional Support Dogs and even Therapy Dogs can benefit people with disabilities associated with many diagnoses, including: Arthritis Ataxia (poor balance) Autism Blindness or Impaired Vision Deafness or Impaired Hearing Diabetes Cardio/Pulmonary Disease Cerebral Palsy Physical mobility Issues Multiple Sclerosis (M.S.) Psychiatric Disabilities Seizure Disorders (Epilepsy) Severe Allergy Alert Spina Bifida Spinal Cord/Head Trauma Stroke Anxiety Depression Bipolar disorder Mood disorder Fear/phobias Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Suicidal Thoughts/Tendencies Adjustment Disorder Generalized anxiety disorder Social anxiety disorder Panic disorder Separation anxiety Dissociative Disorders Factitious Disorders Eating Disorders Impulse-Control Disorders Mental Disorders Due to a General Medical Condition Neurocognitive Disorders Mood Disorders Neurodevelopmental Disorders Personality Disorders Psychotic Disorders Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders Sleep Disorders Somatoform Disorders Substance Related Disorders This is just a partial list of disabilities that qualify under ADA.