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How to get an Emotional Support Dog Letter

Emotional Support Animal with woman

An emotional support animal (ESA) can be any type of small, domesticated animal that is customarily kept in the home. All kinds of animal companions serve as ESAs, but dogs are perhaps the most popular type of emotional support animal. Dogs and other ESAs can provide therapeutic comfort for those suffering a variety of mental and emotional issues such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Federal and state laws have requirements for how an owner proves that their dog is an emotional support animal. Under these ESA laws, the owner of an ESA needs a recommendation letter from a licensed mental health professional. In this article, we will explore how you can qualify for an emotional support dog. 

Ask Your Therapist for an ESA Letter

If you’re interested in qualifying for an emotional support dog, the first place to turn for help is your existing therapist. That can be a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, social worker, registered nurse, physician’s assistant or other licensed professional that is familiar with your mental and emotional health. Physicians are also capable of writing ESA letters, but may not be familiar with ESAs or your mental health history. If your current therapist or doctor agrees that you have a condition that qualifies for an emotional support animal, they may write you an ESA letter. The ESA letter will be signed and dated on the professional’s letterhead and contain a “prescription” (but more accurately, a recommendation) for an emotional support animal. 

Once you are in possession of an ESA letter, your dog is an official ESA. You can present this letter to your housing provider to prove that your dog is a proper emotional support animal. It can be difficult to discuss your mental and emotional health with someone, and you may also feel apprehensive about asking whether an emotional support dog is right for you. It’s always best, however, to be open and transparent about the issues you are dealing with when talking to a health care professional and also to suggest solutions that you think may help you. 

Emotional support dogs are used by countless people suffering from mental and emotional disorders. Emotional support dogs can be an essential part of feeling better and can work in conjunction with other modes of treatment such as therapy and medication. Having an emotional support dog by your side can help you face your issues head-on and navigate more comfortably through challenging situations that arise in life. Many therapists understand the benefits of emotional support animals and will write ESA letters for qualifying clients.

            However, some therapists are not familiar with ESAs or ESA rules and do not feel capable of writing ESA letters. These therapists will sometimes refer clients to other professionals that are more knowledgeable about ESAs. You may also be in a position where you don’t have a therapist or can’t afford one. It is also difficult for many people to visit a therapist in person or to fit a meeting into a busy schedule. If you’re having trouble finding a therapist that is qualified to recommend an ESA for you, there are fortunately valuable online resources that can help guide you in the right direction.  

Get Your ESA Letter Online

More people than ever are turning to the convenience of using online therapists. With online technology, it has never been easier to find help from a licensed professional without ever having to leave your home. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an even greater appreciation for these services, which offer a cost-effective way for people to find the help they need. If the idea of seeing a therapist in person makes you anxious or scared, that’s another great reason to explore using an online service.

Some people wonder whether an ESA letter obtained from an online therapist is just as useful as one obtained through meeting with a therapist in person. Fortunately, the answer is yes! The important thing is that the professional is properly qualified to write an ESA letter. In the next section, we will discuss how you can effectively qualify your emotional support dog online. 

How to Find the Right Online Source for an ESA Letter

Qualifying for an ESA letter online can be simple, easy, and effective. However, it’s important that you use a service that follows the right procedures. You should make sure that the ESA service provider you use is pairing you with a licensed mental health professional that is able to write ESA letters. The professional should be aware of ESA rules and be qualified to write ESA letters. The therapist should also be actively licensed for your state. 

When you submit information relating to your need for an ESA, you are divulging sensitive, confidential information. You want to make sure that you’re in trusted hands when you share this information online. Be sure the platform you are using is secure and respects client confidentiality. One of the oldest and leading providers of ESA services is ESA Doctors. They have helped thousands of people find licensed professionals who have helped them qualify for an emotional support dog. If you think an emotional support dog could improve your mental health, don’t hesitate to get the help you deserve

ESA - Three easy steps to get ESA Letter - Infographic

Click here to see if you may qualifying for an ESA

Training Your Emotional Support Animal

A popular misconception about emotional support dogs is that they need specialized training. This misunderstanding likely stems from confusing emotional support dogs with service dogs, which are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Unlike service dogs, emotional support dogs do not need any specific training. An emotional support dog provides therapeutic support and comfort to its owner through companionship and affection. Service dogs, on the other hand, undergo highly specialized training to assist with a disability, such as a dog that is trained to protect its owner’s head during a seizure. All emotional support dogs however should undergo basic obedience and behavioral training so they can coexist peacefully with other animals, tenants, and passengers without being a nuisance or danger to anyone. 

Know Your Rights as an Emotional Support Dog Owner

Owners of emotional support dogs have special rights under federal and state laws. For example, under the Fair Housing Act, tenants are allowed to live with their emotional support dogs, even in buildings that prohibit pets. Landlords are also prohibited from imposing fees and deposits for emotional support dogs, even though such fees and deposits may be applicable for regular pets. In addition, because emotional support dogs are not considered regular pets under these rules, they are also exempt from restrictions based on a dog’s breed or weight. 

To take advantage of these benefits, you need to present your landlord with a valid ESA letter. If you’re interested in seeing if you qualify for an ESA letter, ESA Doctors can help connect you to an understanding professional who will treat you with respect and kindness. 

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  1. Samantha Janson says: February 23, 2023
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