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 a mental health disorder: anxiety, depressions, bipolar, etc. People look for a solution to feel better. One of the solutions is to certify an Emotional Support Dog. It’s much more than an ordinary dog for its owner. 

Individuals with mental or emotional conditions felt 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 dogs. Otherwise, a person may select a new friend by preferences. 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 is how to register your pet as an emotional support animal.

In this article, you can find any info about emotional support animal, ESA dog, companion dog, a service dog, register an ESA, and you 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 Dog – What is it?

A woman register her dog as an emotional support dog

One of the key differences between common dogs and emotional support dogs is an ESD dog 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 as a service dog. It means that you don’t need to train your dog by specific skills. 

An ESA Dog means that it provides therapeutic benefits to its owner through companionship and feelings. When you register ESA Dog, your mental health professional or an online website, that provides a legal ESA Letter and certifies your needs to get ESA Dog Certification – Letter. Without getting approved by a specialist, you’re not able to register an ESA Dog. 

Emotional Support Pet is a part of the treatment for its owner. Emotional support animals come in various breeds and types.

Emotional Support Animal 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 emotional support animal 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 Letter where a mental health professional confirms that you need an ESA Dog 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 before, that emotional support dog can be any dog. You can choose a dog that you dream of since your childhood. You may buy a dog breeder like 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, 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 needs 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 quite and teachable.
Registering a Dog as an Emotional Support Animal opens you and your dog new opportunities to travel and rent different houses.

A man hugs his emotional support dog

How To Make My Dog An Emotional Support Dog?

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

  1. Ask your mental health professional about writing an emotional support letter.
  2. You can connect with a mental health doctor on an online website.

You should get an ESA Letter from a licensed mental health professional. An ESA Letter makes your dog an emotional support dog and states your need for an ESA Dog. 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 Emotional Support Animal?

If you choose to register your dog as an emotional support animal, you should fill the emotional support animal application on the website. There is a questionnaire with questions about your feelings right now, previous or current diagnosis, about 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.

how to register an emotional support animal steps

Emotional Support Dog Registration Steps

The flow of certifying your emotional support dog:

  1. Understand your needs for an ESA Dog;
  2. Choose the method of how to get an ESA Letter;
  3. Choose the right website where you can apply for an ESA Certification – Letter;
  4. Fill the questionnaire;
  5. Wait for a response of a therapist;
  6. Get your Emotional Support Animal Letter.

These points allow your dog to become an emotional support dog with emotional support dog certification – letter. Some people may call it an anxiety dog certification.

A women talk to her dog about esa certification for dogs

How To Certify A Therapy Dog?

A Therapy Dog is the same that an emotional support dog but with the crucial primary difference. When you certify a therapy dog, you should train it to provide affection, comfort, love to people. They also do not have public access rights. Therapy dogs should provide emotional support and 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 emotional support animals have. You can’t live in “No Pets” houses or fly with your pet inside the airplane.

Nevertheless, if you think 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. Next step, a test where check behaviors as no jumping and being able to walk in 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 focuses 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 as assistance animals or helper animals. Making a dog as 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 register 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 emotional support dog have fun

Companion Dogs Register

A companion dog doesn’t exist by the law of the United States of America. However, 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.


I’m sure that right now, you understand where to register your dog as an emotional support animal. You should recognize the critical difference between an emotional support dog, a therapy dog, a service dog, and a companion dog. There are a lot of variations on how to certify an emotional support dog. But be sure that you chose the right way to certify your dog as ESA. If you’re confident that you need an ESD – get your ESA letter up to 48 hours.

Can emotional support animals fly?

Yes, emotional support animals can fly on airplanes in the cabin. Federal regulations allow a person that has an emotional support letter to bring their emotional support pet in the cabin.

The airline companies can’t charge money if you have an ESA letter. Emotional support animals are allowed to sit in their owner’s laps if small enough and not to touch any part of the seat. Also, if it does not interfere or prevent other passengers from using seats.

Сan emotional support dogs go anywhere?

No, emotional support dogs cannot go anywhere. Emotional support dogs do not have the training to do specific tasks as service animals. That’s why, you cannot take your emotional support dog anywhere. You need to choose only pet-friendly places.

The difference between service animals and emotional support animals are here.

Сan emotional support dogs go to school?

An emotional support dog is a companion dog that helps you to reduce mental health issues.

However, federal laws do not obligate to allow emotional support dogs in colleges and schools. You cannot bring your emotional support dog to school. You can get all the benefits of emotional support animals at home.

Сan emotional support dogs fly for free?

Yes, emotional support dogs can fly for free if an owner has proper documentation. The owner should have a proper emotional support letter that prescribes needs to have an emotional support dog, fill an application form before flying.

If everything is correct, and the airline approves your dog as an emotional support animal, an ESA dog can fly for free.

Сan emotional support animals be denied?

Yes, sometimes emotional support animals can be denied. There are a few cases why an emotional support animal can be denied:

  • You have no correct emotional support animal letter. You should check carefully the main requirements for an ESA letter: the official letterhead of a licensed health professional, the license number, the issue, and the expiration date.
  • The airline can deny your emotional support animal if it considers your pet is not an emotional support animal or may be dangerous for having flight. They can deny if your emotional support animal is too large or too large. Also, if your pet 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 emotional support animals stay in hotels?

No, emotional support animals 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 an emotional support animal. You may demonstrate to them that you have a well-behaved emotional support pet. 

Also, a hotel may request an emotional support letter that prescribes your needs for an emotional support animal letter.

Сan emotional support animals go into restaurants?

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

Сan emotional support dogs fly internationally?

Yes, emotional support dogs 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 emotional support animals would be allowed.

Owners should be prepared to show that they are ready to handle the emotional support dog’s hygienic needs on flights over 8 hours in duration. Some airlines will ask for filling 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. 

Delta doesn’t allow ESAs on flights over 8 hours

Сan emotional support dogs go in hospitals?

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

Сan emotional support animals live in dorms?

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

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


About the author

Little Doggy

Little Doggy