Emotional support animals, also known as ESAs, are companion animals whose physical presence brings their owners comfort and support. There are many reasons why people have ESAs. If you've been thinking about the reasons for having an emotional support animal, this guide is for you.
We'll explore a range of benefits of ESAs, from mental health support and unconditional love, to housing allowances and pet tariff waivers.
What is an Emotional Support Animal?
In a nutshell, an ESA is any animal that brings about emotional comfort and support. ESAs can be any legal species of animal, including dogs, birds, cats, rabbits, pigs, goats, guinea pigs, hamsters, or even snakes. ESAs enjoy certain legal benefits stipulated by the Fair Housing Act and can even enjoy specific allowances on some airlines. While all pet animals offer companionship, ESAs need a special letter from a licensed mental health therapist to prove they bring their owner therapeutic benefits.
What Do Emotional Support Animals Do?
ESAs offer companionship to their owners. Unlike service dogs and psychiatric service dogs (PSDs), who perform a specific task related to their owner's disability, ESAs provide relief and support. While they might not perform disability-related tasks, they still offer substantial therapeutic support.
List of 10 Reasons to Get an Emotional Support Animal
Here we explore ten reasons to get an ESA.
1. To Provide Companionship and Reduce Loneliness
One of the most fantastic perks of an ESA is the companionship factor. ESAs offer their owners unconditional love, and this boosts mental wellbeing. Since they are always around, they significantly reduce loneliness and foster a sense of connection.
2. To Live Anywhere with Your Pet
The housing perks are a huge benefit of having an ESA with an official letter. As per the Fair Housing Act, landlords cannot discriminate against those with ESAs. The act strives to "protect the right of people with disabilities to keep emotional support animals." ESAs are recognized as "assistive aids" rather than conventional pets.
3. To Avoid Expensive Housing Pet Fees
Another bonus of an ESA letter is that specific tariffs and pet fees are waived. This might include breed or pet size levies in apartment complexes or extra fees for additional pets.
4. To Fly on Some Airlines with Your Support Animal
While not all airlines allow ESAs (since they do not have the same rights as service dogs), certain airlines might enable ESAs to travel at their discretion. Always call ahead to check the specific airline's policy.
5. To Give You a Healthy Routine
Pets offer owners a healthy routine. Whether you're enjoying morning walks with your emotional support dog, cuddling your emotional support cat, or feeding your emotional support rabbit healthy snacks, ESAs give their owners a clear routine. Routine gives people purpose and can help them to cope with stressful emotions.
6. To Help Alleviate Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
ESAs are hugely beneficial to those struggling with mental health disorders like anxiety. Studies have even highlighted that dogs can help humans produce unique neurotransmitters that boost happiness. Spending time with a beloved ESA releases happy chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. As such, ESAs support a myriad of mental health conditions.
7. To Provide Support for Those with Chronic Stress
Spending time with an animal and especially petting them has been shown to lower blood pressure and subsequently diminish stress. ESAs are great for those who deal with chronic stress.
8. To Manage Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
ESAs are often highly intuitive and can pick up when their owners are becoming overwhelmed. ESAs or trained psychiatric service dogs are helpful for those struggling with PTSD. Trained PSDs can perform tasks such as waking owners from nightmares or offering tactile comfort during a panic attack.
9. To Provide Support for Individuals with Bipolar Disorder
ESAs can significantly support owners with bipolar disorder by offering unconditional love, comfort, and grounding. They can also help people to regain lost focus.
10. An Official Recognition of the Help Your Pet Provides
ESA letters give you certain legal protections, especially regarding housing stipulations and unfair discrimination.
How to Get an Emotional Support Animal
If you want to get your pet officially recognized as an ESA, there are a few simple steps to follow. The team at Pettable can help you. Just fill in our short assessment, and we will guide you on the steps ahead.
Step 1: Submit Payment and Sign Forms
Submit your payment and sign the necessary documents.
Step 2: Book a Consultation
Book a consultation with a licensed therapist in your state.
Step 3: Approval
Get approval and your official ESA letter.
Get Your ESA Letter with Pettable
We take the hassle out of obtaining an official ESA letter. We will connect you to a local mental health therapist in your state. If you qualify for an ESA, you'll get your letter within 24-48 hours. If, for some reason, you don't, you'll get 100% money back.