Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Step by Step Guide – How to Get an ESA Letter for Flying

Have you seen dogs in the airport and wonder why they are allowed to fly? Chances are, they are emotional support animals. Below we will address steps to qualify for an ESA Letter so you may travel with your dog.

Step #1 – Understand and identify your disability Do you qualify for an ESA letter?

You can be eligible for an ESA letter if you have disabilities, as noted in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). A few examples are:

Depression Social Anxiety Disorder Anxiety Disorder Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Panic Attacks What is an Emotional Support Animal?

An Emotional Support Animal is a pet that provides comfort and love to their handler. An ESA can be any type of animal through an Emotional Support Dog is the most common choice.

Unlike a Service Dog, an Emotional Support Dog does not require special training but does have to be well behaved.

Step #2 – Understand your rights Are Emotional Support Animals allowed to fly? A few airlines allow you to fly on an airplane with an Emotional Support Animal.

On January 11, 2021, rules by the U.S. Department of Transportation went into effect, giving airlines the option to no longer recognize emotional support animals. As a result, many airlines are no longer accepting emotional support animals on flights. A few airlines still allow ESAs into the cabin of the airplane at no extra cost, but their rules and policies may be adjusted at any time.

Please check with your airline prior to booking a flight to confirm their current policy for ESAs as it may change. It is better to contact the airline ahead of time to feel confident that you have all the required documentation needed for your trip.

If you’re flying with an airline that no longer has an ESA program, your animal must meet the airline’s requirements for regular pets.

Step #3 – Qualify for a Legitimate ESA letter How to qualify your dog as an Emotional Support Animal?

If you feel that you may qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, you may contact your therapist for support. If your therapist is unaware of ESA regulations, you may refer to a legitimate online referral company. It is important that you work with a therapist who believes in animal therapy and understands the regulations as the ESA letter requires specific language.

Click here to qualify for your ESA letter

If you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal and have an ESA letter, we recommend that you submit your ESA letter to the participating airline ahead of time for approval. Each airline has their policy and procedure, so it’s best to inquire about their requirements as soon as possible not to run into any problems at the airport.

You are not required to register your Emotional Support Animal – only an ESA letter from a licensed therapist may make your pet an official Emotional Support Animal.

Step #4 – Train your ESA to be a “good citizen”

Although an Emotional Support Animal does not require special training, they need to be well behaved. If you plan on taking your ESA onto an airplane, the participating airlines has the right to deny you access if they determine that your ESA may cause harm to others. 

Examples of good citizen behavior are:

Walking with you and within the leash length; not pulling or lunging Ignoring food on the floor or in other passenger’s hands Not barking or lunging Sitting and staying on command Step #5 – Prepare your ESA for success Exercise and prepare for your ESA’s flight

As mentioned earlier, inquire with your airline regarding their assistance animals policy well in advance. We recommend contacting the airline as soon as you book your flight and submit any required documentation at least 48 hours before departure.

Here are some helpful tips for travelling with your ESA:

Do not give your ESA food or water 3-4 hours before the flight. Make sure they have ample opportunity to relieve themselves before the flight. Prepare treats for good behavior in the airport. This is an excellent opportunity to reward them for positive behavior and enforce it for the next trip. Your ESA should associate the airport as a fun place where they get tons of treats in return for behaving well. Make sure your ESA exercises 1-2 hours before the flight. This will help them get rid of excess energy. Outfit your ESA with an easily identifiable vest. Although not required by law, accessories like vests and tags make identifying your dog as an ESA easier and may prevent unnecessary confrontations. You may also choose to give your ESA Dramamine for motion sickness or Benadryl to help them sleep. Each animal is different; please consult your veterinarian before giving your ESA medicine.

See if you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal letter from ESA Doctors by clicking the link below.

More articles that you may find helpful: Emotional Support Animal Laws What to do if Your Landlord Does Not Accept Your ESA

Service Dog Regulations & Traveling Internationally

Are you planning a trip with your Service Dog to another part of the world? Before you show up at the airport, or even before you book your flight, there are some important regulations and rules you will need to know when traveling with a Service Dog.

Service Dog Health Requirements

Of course, you will want your Service Dog to be at optimal health before traveling. But aside from that, every country has specific regulations when it comes to entering with a foreign animal.

Due to the risk of rabies, It is advisable to start preparing your Service Dog six months before your date of departure to avoid having your dog quarantined.

During this prep time, your dog should have an ISO microchip (this International Standards Organization is a 15 digit number that is accepted worldwide). If your pet does not have an ISO microchip, you can opt to have one implanted or to carry your own scanner.

Your dog may also be required to have two rabies titers before departure. This is essentially a test done to gauge your dog’s immune response to rabies (either through exposure to the virus or through vaccinations). Other blood work may also be necessary depending on the individual area’s regulations.

Service Dog Documentation Requirements

Even though your canine companion is a Service Dog, you will need to carry some important documentation with you when you travel out-of-state. This includes;

The registration letter/certificate of your Service Dog Health/rabies records, and microchip documentation from your veterinarian. These documents should also be notarized then certified by the U.S Department of Agriculture. A “good health” letter from your veterinarian stating your dog is healthy. This must be written on your vet’s own letterhead to be accepted. A letter from your health care professional stating that you require the assistance of the Service Dog. Outfitting your Service Dog with the proper identification gear like a vest or special harness.

It is also recommended that you contact the embassy or consulate of the country you are visiting to find out if they have any bans on particular breeds of dogs. Also, you should call the Department of Ministry of Agriculture in the country you are planning to visit to ask about quarantine policies of incoming animals.

Lastly, have all your documents translated into the native language of the country you are planning on visiting. This helps cut down on the confusion if you are dealing with a non-English speaking individual.

Service Dog Requirements for Common International Destinations

Although each country and region of the world have their own policies when it comes to Service Dogs, we’ve gathered the information you will need to know for some popular vacation spots.

Mexico Service Dog Travel Laws

To enter into Mexico with your Service Dog, you must have;

Proof of rabies vaccination at least 15 days prior to entry. Will accept a 3-year rabies vaccination entering from the US or Canada. Proof of treatment for internal and external parasites within the last 6 months Health certificate from your veterinarian. This can be a template printed on their own letterhead. The second option is a USDA-accredited vet can issue the APHIS form 7001 or if traveling from Canada, the Canada Export Tri-Lingual Veterinary certificate can be used.

Mexico does not require your Service Dog to be microchipped; however, it is strongly recommended.

Costa Rica Service Dog Travel Laws

To enter into Costa Rica with your Service Dog, you must have;

Rabies vaccination must have been given between 21 days to one year of entering Costa Rica. They will also accept a 3-year rabies vaccination. The dog must enter into the area at least 30 days prior to the vaccination’s expiration date. The Veterinary Certificate for Costa Rica must be filled out within 14 days of entry. An alternate copy translated into Spanish is also required. The certificate must then be endorsed by the State USDA office (United States) or the CFIA office (Canada). If you are traveling from the United States, you must also obtain a USDA health certificate for your Service Dog which has been endorsed by the USDA office. An import permit from your flight Internal and external parasite treatment within the last 15 days

Your Service Dog does not need to be microchipped to enter into Costa Rica.

Japan Service Dog Travel Laws

When traveling to Japan, be sure your Service Dog has these requirements;

ISO microchip or bring your own scanner Advanced Notification Form must be filed at least 40 days in advance of import with the Animal Quarantine Service (AQS) Rabies Blood Titer Test Must have two rabies vaccinations (inactivated or recombinant) within one year of entry A Japan Health Certificate filled out by an accredited veterinarian within two days of entry. Recently treated for both internal and external parasites

Note that Japan does require a quarantine period for all animals entering the country.

Hong Kong Service Dog Travel Laws

Before you travel to Hong Kong, the following requirements must be met for your Service Dog;

Microchipped with either a 9 or 15 digit code (you may also bring your own scanner) Import permit from the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. Rabies vaccination dependant on which country you are traveling from Certificate stating where the animal has resided (length of time dependant on country you are traveling from) Veterinary Certificate for Hong Kong issued by an accredited veterinarian within 14 days of entry Captain’s Affidavit stating your Service Dog did not leave or come in contact with any other animal during the flight. Philippines Service Dog Travel Laws

If you are thinking about traveling to the Philippines, these requirements must be met when concerning your Service Dog;

Import Permit/Veterinary Quarantine Clearance (good for two months) Rabies vaccination within the last 30 days and no longer than one year Additional vaccinations against canine distemper, infectious hepatitis, leptospirosis, and canine parvovirus Health/Veterinary Certificate Treated for external and internal parasites within the last 48 hours France Service Dog Travel Laws

Do you want to travel to France with your service dog? Here’s what your Service Dog will need;

ISO microchip (or bring your own scanner) Proof of current rabies vaccination Rabies titer test Health Certificate (dependant on country of departure)

Service Dog Regulations When Traveling Internationally – Do Your Homework!

When you are planning a trip outside of your country, it’s important to do your homework in regards to a Service Dog. Remember to start the process at least 6 months in advance so you will have the time it takes to obtain the needed documents. In addition, be sure to follow all the requirements to the letter to ensure you and your Service Dog will be allowed into the region.

Happy Travels!



Are you confused when it comes to emotional support dog requirements and about assistance animals in general?

There is a lot of information out there regarding this important subject, and some of it is misleading or just plain false. If you want to designate your dog as an emotional support dog (ESD) or an emotional support animal (ESA), it’s important to understand all of the requirements, rules, and regulations.

In this post, we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about emotional support dogs/animals.

1. What is an Emotional Support Dog?

An Emotional Support Dog (ESD or ESA) is a pet or animal prescribed by a licensed therapist to provide a health benefit for those that suffer from an emotional or mental disability.

Emotional Support Dogs have rights that normal pets do not:

An ESA has access to almost all types of housing regardless of no-pet policies. ESAs are protected under the Fair Housing Act so that they can live with their owners. Under this law, an ESA owner cannot be charged an additional fee for having an animal in their home. 2. Can I qualify for an Emotional Support Dog? Emotional support animals help people with depression, PTSD, anxiety, and more.

You may qualify for an emotional support dog if you have emotional or mental illnesses. If you suffer from one or more mental illnesses listed below, you may qualify for an emotional support dog.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) Learning Disorders Autism General Anxiety Disorder Gender Identity Bipolar Cognitive disorders Depression Severe anxiety Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or any of the illnesses listed above, you may be interested in having an official Emotional Support Animal. If you do not have access to a therapist, the next step is to learn more about how to get an ESA Letter online.

3. Emotional Support Dog Training Requirements

An Emotional Support Dog does not require specialized training, unlike a Service Dog that does require extensive training. They must perform specific tasks to aid in their handler’s disability. Emotional Support Dog requirements are:

Your ESD must be well behaved and under your control at all times. Your ESD cannot threaten the health and safety of others.

Although not required by law, your emotional support dog should also be spayed or neutered as this eliminates mating-related aggressive behaviors and also has the added benefits of not having litters of puppies.

4. Emotional Support Dog Registration Requirements

The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require you to register your emotional support dog. People may prefer to register their dog since it helps with landlords or other members of the public you may encounter your ESA. In addition to registering your emotional support dog, you may also be interested in ordering a custom assistance animal handler identification card or certificate. Some building owners and employers train or require their employees to ask for this information even though you are not required to share it with them.

5. Where to get an Emotional Support Dog Certificate

An ESA letter is commonly referred to as an Emotional Support Dog Certificate. You must have an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional recommending your need for an emotional support animal. An Emotional Support Animal Letter must include:

The ESA letter typically cannot be dated later than one-year of submission The ESA letter should be on your therapist’s official letterhead The ESA letter should include the therapist’s license number, date, and direct contact information

If you have a certificate without a legitimate ESA letter, landlords may not honor and respect your rights as an emotional support animal handler.

6. Emotional Support Dog Vest Options Emotional support animals can live in “no-pets” apartments and condos without being charged extra fees.

An emotional support dog does not need to wear a special vest. However, some handlers prefer to have one. The ESD vest is a great way to identify your canine as a “working” dog and will help eliminate the confusion and questions you may encounter from the public. This is not to be confused with a service dog vest. You may also choose to allow your Emotional Support Animal to work as a Therapy Dog to help others in stressful environments. A certified therapy dog is not the same as an emotional support animal and has different requirements.

7. Can my ESD go into restaurants or markets with me?

No, by law, your Emotional Support Dog will not be allowed into restaurants, markets, or any place where food is sold or served. Even if the employees want to allow access, they are legally required to turn you away due to health regulations. Only Service Dogs have public access rights to places such as restaurants and markets. Service dogs have specific rights and regulations; read more about Service Dog rules here.

8. Where can my Emotional Support Dog go?

Under Federal Law and emotional support dog requirements, you will be allowed to bring your ESD into “no pets” policy apartments/housing without being charged any additional fees.

9. Are there breed or weight restrictions for Emotional Support Dogs?

No, your emotional support dog can be of any size and breed. This rule even protects breeds that are commonly discriminated against, such as Pit Bulls or Dobermans. You may even have more than one emotional support animal if your therapist recommends it.

Emotional Support Dogs Work

Now that we’ve answered these common questions about emotional support dogs, you may be eligible for your own ESD. If you believe you or a loved one may benefit from an ESD, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your mental health professional to get the process started. If you do not have access to a therapist or may be intimidated by seeking support, read more about how to get an ESA letter online. Emotional Support Dogs work!