Dog Animal Support

How To Certify an Emotional Support Dog?

emotional support dog registration
Little Doggy
Written by Little Doggy

We live with stress every day. As a result, more people have mental health disorders: anxiety, depression, bipolar, etc. People look for a solution to feel better. One of the solutions is to get ESA Pet Letter. It’s much more than an ordinary pet for its owner. 

Individuals with mental or emotional conditions feel that the presence of a loving dog is sometimes enough to be happier and struggle with their disorder.

That’s awesome that people can choose any breed of dog. Otherwise, a person may select a new friend by preference. You don’t need to get a specific dog by size or weight. It can be any size, color, weight, etc. I’m sure that one of the questions that you need to get an answer to is how to register your pet as an emotional support animal.

In this article, you can find any info about ESA pet, companion dog, a service dog, and you will understand how to certify an emotional support dog.

Notice: There are affiliate links in the article – and if you buy something by using one of those links – I’ll get compensation. Thank you.

ESA Pet – What is it?

A woman register her dog as an ESA Pet

One of the key differences between common dogs and emotional support dogs is an ESA Pet can live in “no pets” housing, and the owners don’t need to pay additional housing fees to the landlord and have a flight on the plane board. It’s not a trained dog like a service dog. It means that you don’t need to train your dog with specific skills. 

An emotional support dog means that it provides therapeutic benefits to its owner through companionship and feelings. Your mental health professional or an online website must certify your needs to get ESA Pet Letter. Without getting approved by a specialist, you’re not able to register it. 

So it is a part of the treatment for its owner. ESA Pets come in various breeds and types.

ESA Pet Registration Сircumstances

Emotional Support Animal Registration means that you have specific conditions as a mental health disorder. You can find below a list of conditions that qualify for an emotional support dog.

A service animal helps a person with a disability on a wheelchair

Conditions that Qualify for an Emotional Support Dog

Here are the main mental health conditions to get an ESA Pet letter:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Mood Disorder
  • Fear/Phobias
  • Panic Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Factitious Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Adjustment Disorders
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Impulse-Control Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Suicidal Thoughts/Tendencies
  • Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders
  • Neurocognitive Disorders
  • Mood Disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Psychotic Disorders
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Somatoform Disorders
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Stress

If you are with any of these disorders, you need to get an ESA Pet Letter where a mental health professional confirms that you need it as a part of your treatment. They use the definition by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to help determine your condition and if you qualify for an ESD. After registering your dog as an emotional support animal, your dog will be a certified support animal.

How To Get An Emotional Support Dog?

As I told you before, that ESA Pet can be any dog. You can choose a dog that you dream of since your childhood. You may buy a dog breeder like a pitbull, dachshund, German shepherd, etc., or adopt shelters and rescues. 

You need to register your dog as an emotional support animal at any time before or after adopting it. A mental health professional may clarify what a breed dog you have, its name, size, and weight. However, you should keep in mind that your companion should be calm and friendly. Also, I recommend you consider the size. If you don’t plan to live in big houses, a large dog may have some inconvenience due to their need to run and play.

Take it into account that some breeds have yappy and hyper character, if you want to get a calming effect on your condition, maybe it’s not the best choice. You may find a lot of breeds that are quiet and teachable.
Registering a Dog as an ESA Pet opens you and your dog to new opportunities to travel and rent different houses.

A man hugs his ESA Pet

How To Make My Dog An ESA Pet?

Some people equate the phrase to certifying an emotional support dog and getting an ESA Pet Letter. However, keep in mind that you have two options on how to make your dog an ESD:

  1. Ask your mental health professional for a prescription.
  2. You can connect with a mental health doctor on an online website.

You should get an ESA Pet Letter from a licensed mental health professional. This makes your dog an emotional support dog and states your need. Some landlords may ask you about registration or some additional certificates. But they are misinformed.

After getting the letter, you don’t need any other registrations of your dog on any websites.

How Do I Register My Dog As An ESA Pet?

If you choose to register it, you should fill out the application on the website. There is a questionnaire with questions about your feelings right now, previous or current diagnosis, pills that you take, etc.
You should reply to questions honestly because a doctor will check everything and may call you to check the provided info. If everything is right, you will get ESA Pet Letter.

steps how to get ESA Pet Letter

ESA Pet Registration Steps

The flow of certification:

  1. Understand your needs;
  2. Choose the method of how to get it;
  3. Choose the right website where you can apply for it;
  4. Fill out the questionnaire;
  5. Wait for a response from a therapist;
  6. Get your ESA Pet Letter.
A women talk to her dog on how to make ESA Pet Letter for him

How To Certify A Therapy Dog?

A Therapy Dog is the same that an ESA Pet but with a crucial primary difference. When you certify a therapy dog, you should train it to provide affection, comfort, and love to people. They also do not have public access rights. Therapy dogs should provide encouragement to many people. A lot of therapists like Florence Nightingale, Sigmund Freud, and Elaine Smith used them for therapeutic reasons. These types of dogs are subjected to several tests to assume that they are fit for the job. They will be trained to help patients with psychological or physiological needs because they are prepared to interact with different people.

If you register your dog as a therapy dog, you don’t have the rights that ESA Pets have. You can’t live in “No Pets” houses or fly with your pet inside the airplane.

Nevertheless, if you think about how to register a therapy dog, be careful that you can’t do it via the Internet. Dogs should earn the AKC Therapy Dog title. There are specific training steps that are necessary to become AKC certified.

  1. To socialize a dog by being around other animals and strangers. 
  2. The next step is a test that checks behaviors such as not jumping and being able to walk on a loose leash.
  3. After that, a dog is signed up for training classes.
  4. Visit classes.
  • Distraction-proofing class which helps to become more focused on a dog;
  • Therapy Training Class. The dog and its owner go for therapy visits.

 5. Get AKC Certify to be a Therapy Dog.

How To Certify A Service Dog?

Service animals are pets that have been trained for specific tasks that assist disabled people. They are called assistance animals or helper animals. Making a dog a service dog means it should be trained in particular schools and perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. 

Your dog should have lessons for certifying a service dog. Approximately 120 hours over months, 30 hours should be spent in public places to help a dog in urgent situations that may come.

Once your dog is trained, before registering your dog as a service animal, you should put it to the test to approve its skills.

They check there:

  • No aggressive behavior;
  • The behavior of cease sniffing;
  • No solicitations for affection or any food;
  • No hyperactivity in public places.

After that, your dog can make your pet a service animal. Getting pet certified as a service animal you can:

  • Visit any public establishments;
  • Live with your pet in “No Pets” policy housing;
  • Fly inside the airplane board.
A women and her ESA Pet have fun

Companion Dogs Register

A companion dog doesn’t exist by the law of the United States of America. However, a companion dog certificate means that your dog passes some necessary obedience tests that allowing to progress to a higher level. Companion dogs don’t help people with disabilities.

These types of dogs don’t have any rights to live in rented places with “No Pets” and travel with their owners on the airplane. Under AKC regulations, your dog is certified by two separate judges for receiving appropriate scores in novice-level classes at three AKC-qualified obedience trials.


You should recognize the critical difference between an ESA pet, a therapy dog, a service dog, and a companion dog. There are a lot of variations on how to get proper certification. But be sure that you chose the right way. If you’re confident that you need an ESD – get your ESA Pet Letter up to 48 hours.

Can emotional support pets fly?

Yes, they can fly on airplanes in the cabin. Federal regulations allow a person that has a prescription to bring their pet into the cabin.

The airline companies can’t charge money if you have an ESA Pet letter. A dog is allowed to sit in its owner’s lap if small enough and not to touch any part of the seat. Also, if it does not interfere with or prevent other passengers from using seats.

Сan emotional support dog go anywhere?

No, it cannot go anywhere and do not have the training to do specific tasks as service animals. You need to choose only pet-friendly places.

The difference between a service animal and ESA Pet is here.

Сan emotional support dog go to school?

This type of dog is a companion that helps you to reduce mental health issues.

However, federal laws do not obligate allow to bring them into colleges and schools. You cannot bring your dog to school. However, you can get all the benefits at home.

Сan ESA Pet fly for free?

Yes, it can fly for free if an owner has proper documentation. The owner should have a proper prescription from a doctor and fill out an application form before flying.

If everything is correct, and the airline approves your dog – it can fly for free.

Сan emotional support dog be denied?

Yes, it can. There are a few causes why it can be denied:

  • You have no correct documentation. You should check carefully the main requirements for an ESA Pet Letter: the official letterhead of a licensed health professional, the license number, the issue, and the expiration date.
  • The airline can deny your dog if they consider your pet is not an emotional support animal or may be dangerous for having a flight. They can deny if your dog is too large. Also, they can prohibit animals younger than four months.
  • If you are an Illinois citizen, from the 2020 year, you have specific rules about emotional support animal letters for landlords. You can check them here.

Сan ESA Pet stay in hotels?

No, it cannot stay in any hotel. You should check before your check-in or booking a room about how they are friendly for pets.

You need to contact directly a hotel or Airbnb to ask about staying with your dog. You may demonstrate to them that it is well-behaved. 

Also, a hotel may request documentation that prescribes your needs for an ESA Pet letter.

Сan ESA Pet go into restaurants?

You cannot go into all restaurants with your animal. If the restaurant is not pet-friendly, you cannot go there. Restaurants, cafes, stores, and hotels are public places. Only service animals can visit all public places by American With Disabilities rules.

Сan ESA Pet fly internationally?

Yes, they can fly internationally. However, check the rules of an airline before flying on the company website. Airlines cannot set the duration of the flight that it would be allowed.

Owners should be prepared to show that they are ready to handle their dog’s hygienic needs on flights over 8 hours in duration. Some airlines will ask for filling out a sanitation form prior to travel.

Owners should have rabies and health certificates and all other documentation needed by the airline or their destination country upon check-in. Also, check up-to-date CDC guidelines.

Delta doesn’t allow ESA pets on flights with a duration over 8 hours

Сan emotional support dog go in hospitals?

No, it cannot go into hospitals. A hospital is a public place. Only service animals are allowed to go anywhere. Also, therapy dogs have the benefit of visiting hospitals. Because they help a group of people to feel better. They passed special training to be therapy pets. You can check the difference between an ESA Pet and a therapy dog in this article.

Сan ESA Pet live in dorms?

Yes, it can live in dorms or campuses. It creates valuable support for a student that has mental disabilities.

The dorm is considered a place of living or renting an apartment. You should have special documentation like for a landlord.


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Little Doggy

Little Doggy