San Diego Emotional Support Animal Letters

San Diego, California is known for it’s perfect weather, outdoor lifestyle, and pet friendliness. So if you have chosen San Diego as a place to live with your emotional support animal (ESA), you have picked a place that has a lot to offer.

To make sure that you and your ESA get full recognition and privileges, especially when it comes to choosing a home and travel, you need an ESA letter. An ESA letter is a document from a licensed mental health professional indicating that, among other things, you have been diagnosed with a mental health disability — such as PTSD, anxiety, ADHD, or depression — and that your emotional support animal is a necessary part of your treatment.

Your San Diego ESA Rights

Emotional support animals are protected by Federal in travel and housing. There are some state protections in the workplace as well.


In regards to housing, with a proper ESA letter, your emotional support animal is protected under federal law: the Fair Housing Act (FHA). The FHA requires that most property owners/landlords must make reasonable accommodations for your ESA to live with you. Reasonable accommodations include exemption of pet restriction policies including “no pet” rules and additional fees and charges for your ESA.


Employers in San Diego, as in the rest of California and the US, are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. California includes support animals in the workplace an appropriate accommodation. While the federal government requires employers to have fifteen or more employees before being subject to this law, the state of California, and thus San Diego, requires a minimum of five employees.

There are, however, exemptions for employers including an “undue hardship” exemption. Above and beyond protection from undue hardships, employers can require that support animals not to threaten the safety or health of anyone in the workplace and  to be:

  • housebroken
  • well behaved
  • free from offensive odors


With a proper ESA letter, your emotional support animal is protected under federal law: the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). The ACAA requires that airlines allow your ESA to travel with you in the cabin of the airplane without paying any additional fees. Because of recent abuses, airlines have been updating their ESA policies to restrict certain ESA sizes, types, ages, and dispositions. Call the airline to get the details of their ESA policies. Make sure that your needs can be accommodated before paying for your ticket. .

Pet Friendly San Diego

The annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon is just one reason many lists of pet friendliest cities in the US consistently feature San Diego in the top 10. Other reasons include the many beaches, parks, and restaurants/bars that welcome pets, including:


  • Fiesta Island – Mission Bay
  • Dog Beach – Ocean Beach
  • La Jolla Shores Beach
  • Del Mar Dog Beach
  • North Beach – Coronado
  • Mission Beach – Mission Bay
  • Imperial Beach
  • Cardiff State Beach


  • Nate’s Point – Balboa Park
  • Encinitas Park
  • Dusty Rhodes Park – Ocean Beach
  • Kearny Mesa Community Park
  • Doyle Community Park
  • Wells Park – El Cajon
  • Torrey Highlands Dog Park
  • Guajome County Park
  • Rancho Bernardo Park


  • Indigo Grill
  • Knotty Barrel
  • Sally’s Fish House & Bar
  • The Regal Beagle
  • Parkhouse Eatery
  • The Prado at Balboa Park
  • La Jolla Brewing Company
  • The Patio on Lamont
  • Cosmopolitan
  • Bunz Burger Joint
  • Pipes Cafe
  • Slater’s 50/50
  • Leroy’s Kitchen and Lounge

How to Get an ESA Letter in San Diego

If you have a relationship with a mental health professional licensed in the state of California who understands and subscribes to the idea of ESAs as treatment for mental health conditions, then contact that health provider. You can also get an ESA letter online, a process that many people have found less time consuming and less expensive. Over the years, the DOGtor has helped thousands of people affordably get their ESA letters.