Emotional Support Dog: What Benefits are They? » Pet Friendly Spots

Emotional Support Dog: What Benefits are They?

Emotional Support Dog: What Benefits are They?

What is a Emotional Support Dog?

An emotional support dog is used for a variety of reasons. These dogs are prescribed by a mental health professional such as a therapist for comfort.

These types of dogs are intended to bring comfort for a multitude of reasons for the individual that is being supported.

These conditions range from anxiety, depression and Bi-polar but these are just a few conditions.

An Emotional Support Dog is registered through the ESA (Emotional Support Association) and provide a great service, but are not the same as a Service Dog.

These dogs have a few of the freedoms that Service Dogs have, but not all of them. There training differs substantially.

What Conditions Qualify for an Emotional Support Dog?

Anyone is eligible to have an Emotional Support Animal as long as it is requested by a doctor or therapist.

The conditions that will qualify are Depression, anxiety, phobias and emotional or psychological conditions.

Emotional Support Dogs provide companionship and comfort for people that fall under the ADA.

These Dogs are recognized under federal law but not all the same guidelines that a Service Dog does.

Emotional Support Dogs differ because the dog can be your household pet and it has to do with who the person is comfortable with.

These dogs are not breed specific dogs as is required for a trained Service Dog. Service Dogs are highly trained to provide specific support such as alerting to seizures.

What is a Service Dog?

A service dog is a highly trained breed specific dog that provides support to identify a related condition. This condition could be physical or mental challenges.

A service dog is not a current pet of the individual. That is one of the differences in a Service Dog and an Emotional Support Dog.

Due to a Service Dog training they are able to go places that emotional support dogs can not.

Service Dogs are able to join in a restaurant or shopping centers. These are not open to emotional support dogs.

Service dogs support a person that may have visual or a hearing impairment and these are just a few of the conditions they support.

These dogs are classified as be needed for daily living. Without them the individual would not be able to function. Such as being blind or being deaf.

Navigating a store would be next to impossible without their Service Dog. They have access to anywhere the person goes.

Training for an Emotional Support Dog?

An Emotional Support Dog does not need any special train. They should have some ability to be social in public. They should be housetrained as well.

Emotional Support Dogs can be a family pet and be emotionally attached to the person requesting the support.

They are able to be registered with the ESA. Papers are provided for a fee for access to places dogs normally can not go.

Housing is accessible with a emotional support dog regardless if there is a no pet policy but documentation will be required.

Many Airlines allow these dogs. Many airlines have recently changed this policy due to the fact of emotional support dogs have no training.

Emotional support dogs are not required to wear a vest to be identified. This is suggested though so that questioning is reduced.

Service Dog Criteria

Service Dogs have very specific conditions. Here is a list of some pretaining to the Dog.

  • Can not have Aggressive behavior to people or animals
  • No sniffing behavior
  • Can’t beg for food
  • While on Duty No hyperactivity
  • Able to tolerate sounds and visual stimuli
  • Absolutely no barking allowed
  • Using the bathroom not allowed in public

Service Dogs require more training and must pass a test to be certified. Also, more is required based on behaviors that are normal dog behavior.

Emotional Support Dog Criteria

These dogs are basic pets that create a comfortable environment for the person. They are protected under the law.

They are allowed in many businesses but not all. That will depend on the business and their rules.

Some airlines allow them and others will not. Then, Again this will depend on their independent rules and regulations

These dogs are beneficial to the person they support. While, they do allow for the person to sustain community and create comfort.

These dogs have made the outside world bearable to some disabilities. They have a calming effect.

They do need an order from a doctor or therapist to be defined as a Emotional Support Animal to be protected under the law. Also, they need to be well mannered.

How to get a Emotional Support Dog?

To qualify for an Emotional Support Dog, a diagnosed disability is needed. Such as, anxiety or depression.

See a doctor or therapist to confirm that a Emotional Support Dog would be beneficial. Once established prepare to adopt or have a pet that fits the need.

Have the dog registered with the ESA. Have identification and paperwork available for housing and entrance to businesses.


Emotional support dogs are essential for many disabilities. After, progress can be made for comfort level of the person.

During the transition, make sure the dog is able to fulfill that responsibility. Not all dogs will be able to do this, especially in public.

Emotional support dogs are quite different than Service Dogs. Both are necessary but viewed very different.

It is recommended to have a vest and leash so, less questions will be asked. This identifies them and what they are doing.

These dogs are becoming more widely used and research backs up their ability to serve. Dogs are not the only animal used for this service.

It comes down to the choice of the person, and what animal makes them comfortable. Talking to a medical provider will start the process.

Finding the right match is necessary to ensure great results. Animals are natural lovers and have healing qualities.

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