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5 Surprising Benefits of Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals provide invaluable companionship and emotional stability to individuals coping with mental health disabilities. The benefits of an emotional support animal include reduced anxiety, alleviating symptoms of depression, and offering a comforting source of support, contributing to improved overall well-being.

Kristi Carignan
February 14, 2024
May 1, 2023
6 minutes
Updated By
Expert Reviewed By:
May 1, 2023
August 18, 2021
6 minutes
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The benefits of an emotional support animal are considerable. Learn more about how an ESA can help you.

Any pet lover attests to their animal bringing them unbridled love and joy. Emotional support animals (ESAs) provide comfort and companionship to their owners. Many mental health practitioners understand the value and therapeutic benefits of animals.

Interacting with animals decreases cortisol levels (the stress hormone), combats feelings of loneliness, boosts happy hormones, and supports us through feelings of depression and anxiety. ESAs can be dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, guinea pigs, gerbils, and even reptiles.

What is an Emotional Support Animal? 

An ESA is a companion animal who offers support and companionship to owners navigating mental health difficulties. Unlike service dogs who are trained to perform a functional task in relation to their owner's disability, ESAs offer comfort and support. Their presence provides many therapeutic mental health benefits and offers owners certain legal rights that we’ll discuss below.  

What do emotional support animals do? 

ESAs offer their owners companionship and comfort. Their physical and emotional presence has healing benefits and can help owners with anxiety disorders, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression. 

Here we explore five surprising benefits of ESAs and detail how you can qualify for an ESA letter through Pettable. 

1. They Provide Companionship 

Animals are sentient beings who can feel and express love. ESAs provide their owners with companionship. Their presence can diminish feelings of loneliness and fear and give owners a sense of connection, purpose, and calm. Feeling the love of emotional support animals can enhance our mental and emotional state. 

2. They Give You a Routine

ESAs give their owners a great sense of purpose and establish a routine. Whether walking your emotional support dog, planning feeding schedules, or spending quality time together, animals give owners a solid routine. Research has highlighted the strong links between predictable, repetitive patterns and their calming, anxiety-busting effects.  

3. You Can Live Anywhere With Your ESA 

ESAs also offer owners many legal perks concerning housing. ESAs and their owners have housing rights as per the Fair Housing Act (FHA), even when specific buildings or complexes do not allow pets. To qualify for ESA concessions, owners must get a special ESA letter from a licensed therapist stating that their presence is vital for the owner’s wellbeing. 

The ESA letter is then sent to landlords who cannot unfairly discriminate against their right to have an ESA. 

Pettable takes the stress out of ESA letters by connecting clients to licensed therapists. 

4. Get Expensive Housing Pet Fees Waived 

Since ESAs are not classified as traditional pets and are instead seen as assistance animals, standard fees for pets can be waived. Having an ESA letter results in significant financial savings regarding pet housing fees and additional charges for specific breeds. 

5. They Support Your Mental Health 

ESAs support various mental health conditions, including anxiety, bipolar, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and social anxiety. They have even been used for veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. ESAs support mental health in many ways:  

  • They reduce stress levels. 
  • They facilitate social connection and reduce feelings of loneliness
  • They give owners purpose and routine and build their levels of self-efficiency. 
  • They lower social anxiety and enhance outside networks. 
  • They provide companionship, comfort, and support. 

Did You Know?

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are exempt from pet rent, deposits, and fees with a valid ESA letter. Find out more

How to Get an Emotional Support Animal Letter  

If you've wondered how to get an emotional support animal, Pettable can help you with the process in a few simple steps.

Complete Our Assessment  

Firstly, complete our quick, 3-minute assessment from the comfort of your home. Just answer a couple of questions about your specific ESA needs.  

Consult with a Therapist 

Next, we will connect you with a licensed therapist in your state. You'll arrange a meeting with them at a suitable time and date. If you're in California, new regulations stipulate that you must build a "client-provider relationship" with the therapist for at least 30 days before they write the letter. 

Get an ESA Letter  

Once you've met with the therapist, you'll get your ESA letter within 24-48 hours of approval. If, for any reason, your ESA letter isn't approved, you'll get 100% money back from us.  

Pettable also offers psychiatric service dog (PSD) training for those who want to train a dog to perform specific disability-related functions for mental health disabilities. 

The Bottom Line 

ESAs provide unparalleled comfort and support to owners and can help people navigate many complex emotions and conditions. Under the FHA, they have rights too, and should be allowed to live alongside their humans without any hassle. 

We are always on hand to help you with ESA letters and can also talk to your landlords and access any other documents needed for a stress-free process.

Meet the author:
Kristi Carignan

Kristi Carignan is a seasoned freelance writer with over 20 years of experience crafting copy for global agencies and brands. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her furry companions, Sugar the PomChi and Rudy the Shiba Inu, and indulging in hobbies like crafting and home renovation.

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