How to Document an Emotional Support Animal

Things in life can be very stressful and sometimes even overwhelming. For people who suffer from a disability or forms of mental illness such as depression and anxiety, for example, an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) can be a source of comfort and relief. We'll discuss what it means to have an Emotional Support Animal, how you can qualify for one, and how to document an Emotional Support Animal. 

Emotional Support Animals require a medical prescription from a healthcare provider and should be evaluated by a veterinarian to ensure they meet health and behavior guidelines.
 

Many people who suffer from a variety of illnesses, including mild to severe depression, phobias, PTSD, anxiety, and panic attacks have found relief with the companionship of an Emotional Support Animal.

How to Qualify for an Emotional Support Animal

To qualify for an ESA, your therapist or other licensed healthcare providers will determine whether you have a qualifying disability and whether an ESA could help alleviate symptoms of your condition. A “disability” for purposes of qualifying for an Emotional Support Animal means a mental health condition like depression or severe anxiety that substantially limits one or more major life activities, like the ability to sleep, work or learn. 

Please note that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Emotional Support Animals are not considered Service Dogs and are therefore not given the same rights and privileges. Service Dogs have the right to go places Emotional Support Dogs may be disallowed, such as restaurants and grocery stores.

Emotional Support Animals have the right however to accompany their owners in their home pursuant to the Fair Housing Act, without having to pay any fees or deposits. Emotional Support Animal owners have that right even if their building has a “no-pets” policy.

How Do I Get an Emotional Support Animal?

Assistance Animals Consulting provides guidance, resources, and tools to help you with obtaining your emotional support animal. Schedule an online consultation to get started. 

Understanding The Process:
Emotional support animals do not require the same level of training as a Service dog, they don't do special tasks, rather they provide comfort and emotional support through companionship. Many breeds make wonderful companions and provide emotional support. Dogs, cats, pot-bellied pigs, and/or other domesticated animals may be considered as ESAs.

 

You can qualify for your emotional support animal before or after adopting one. If you already have a pet that you feel is suitable to consider as an ESA you can speak with your doctor about obtaining an ESA prescription letter and have it evaluated by a veterinarian to determine if your pet is ideal to serve as an ESA. There are also great options for adoption like your local humane societies or shelters. 

If you don't have a physician or mental healthcare provider, we can assist you with a referral and help you set up your appointment. We can also help you determine the best animal to fit your lifestyle, home environment, and needs with an online consultation. Our goal at Assistance Animals Consulting is to provide the veterinary perspective in your treatment plan. We want to provide the best care for you and your chosen Emotional Support Animal. We can provide help, guidance, resources, and online veterinary consultations to support you, your ESA, and your health care provider. 

Documenting Your ESA (Emotional Support Animal)

1. At Assistance Animal Consulting, we provide documentation for proof, once your ESA has been cleared by an online evaluation with one of our licensed veterinarians. We'll make sure it is free of any health issues, zoonotic diseases, or behavioral concerns. You can use this documentation to prove that your ESA has been evaluated and is safe. 

2. Speak with a licensed healthcare provider or therapist about your condition and your desire to obtain a prescription letter for an Emotional Support Animal. We can help you arrange this appointment if you need a referral. 

3. After both appointments are completed, save your prescription letter and your documentation from the veterinary evaluation (both of these may be requested documentation under the Fair Housing Act). This provides proof of your medical need for the ESA and proof that your ESA has been evaluated by a licensed veterinarian. 

Get help with obtaining or documenting your Emotional Support Animal (ESA).