Wondering how to get an emotional support dog letter? Access to an emotional support dog and ESA dog letter can be life-changing for people who suffer from a wide range of debilitating social, psychological, and physical conditions. As a therapy tool, ESA dogs can offer a form of constant, judgment-free emotional companionship, understanding, and love. It’s these qualities that give people the security and confidence to develop — or redevelop — social skills that allow them to live as happy and as normal a life as possible.

ESA dogs are different from service animals in that they don’t require any extensive training to be registered. Service animals, on the other hand, have to undergo rigorous tests before they can be allowed to assist patients, who are usually suffering from debilitating mental or physical conditions, such as blindness or cerebral palsy. So, getting your ESA dog letter isn’t actually as hard as you may think at first. There are still certain steps that you’ll need to take, but if you follow this guide, you could have a registered pup by your side before you know it.

What Benefits Do You Get from Registering for an ESA Dog Letter?

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If you have an ESA dog letter, you’re protected under the Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act.

Other than the strong and dependable emotional bond you’ll form with your ESA dog, the other two major benefits of registering your hound will be that you’re able to fly with your pet for no additional charge on any commercial airline and you’ll have extended tenancy rights, which means that irrespective of whether your housing has a strict no-pet policy, you’ll be allowed to live with your ESA dog.

Contrary to popular belief, public transport and private enterprises (such as shops, bars and restaurants) are under no obligation to allow your ESA dog onto their premises. Often when you explain your situation, you’ll find that most people are accommodating, but there is no assurance of this, so make sure that you always ask permission before entering these spaces with your ESA dog.

Do You Qualify for an ESA Dog Letter?

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If you’ve been diagnosed with a qualifying condition, then you are able to apply for you ESA dog letter.

ESA dogs can help to improve the treatment, therapy, and recovery of a wide variety of different social, psychological, and minor physical medical conditions. Some of the most common include post-traumatic stress disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, panic attacks, learning difficulties, phobias, mood disorders, attention disorders, depression, and anxiety. If you’ve been diagnosed with or believe you suffer from any of these conditions or even if you just think that your life would be improved by access to an ESA dog, then you are able to apply for you ESA dog letter.

How Do You Apply For Your ESA Dog Letter?

Applying for your ESA dog letter isn’t all that difficult. First, you’ll need to seek out someone who can write an ESA letter—a licensed mental health practitioner. Let the counselor know your desire to register for an ESA dog letter and provide them with your medical history. You can either see your personal doctor and ask for a referral for your certification or simply use one of the online services such as Moosh, which has a raft of licensed psychologists on hand who will help to provide you with the necessary certification if you qualify based on your needs. Online services aim to make this as streamlined and simple as possible to avoid any unnecessary hassle and are usually the quickest way to secure your ESA dog letter.

How Do You Choose Your ESA Dog? 

ESA dogs don’t require any formal training to become certified, so choosing which breed is right for you really just comes down to your personal preference. However, there are some things to keep in mind when considering your pooch, such as size, temperament, trainability, grooming and hereditary conditions.

Given the right living conditions and training, every kind of dog would make a wonderful emotional support animal; however, it can be argued that some breeds will be easier to handle than others. If you live in a house with a large garden and are able to take your pup out for regular walks, then you can consider one of the more excitable and high-energy breeds, but if you live in a smaller apartment and can’t afford to go for extensive walks, then you might consider a smaller, more sedentary dog.

For your ESA dog to have the best chances of being accepted into public places such as restaurants or on buses, they’ll need to be well-trained and on their best behavior, choose a breed that is generally good-natured and easily trainable. If you live in a housing community that usually enforces a no-pet policy, then be sympathetic to this and get a dog that is quite quiet, happy to be left alone when required and, if possible, hypoallergenic.

How to Get an Emotional Support Dog Letter by Registering Online

Once you have your ESA dog letter in hand and have chosen the hound of your dreams, then there’s only step left, and that is to register it online. Once you’ve done this, your dog will be issued with an identification card that you can take around with you when you’re in public spaces.