Can Any Animal Be An Emotional Support Animal?
Any animal can be an emotional support animal. This includes dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, ferrets, reptiles, pigs, mice, goats hedgehogs, rats, ferrets, etc. But there are considerations — such as size — that might limit the privileges that are provided for ESAs by law.
The defining laws for ESAs are the Air Carriers Access Act (ACAA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA).
- Fair Housing Act (FHA) – This law makes it so your ESA can live with you by requiring property owners/property managers to make “reasonable accommodation” for emotional support animals even if their properties have policies restricting pets.
- ACAA – This law makes it so your ESA can fly with you by requiring commercial airlines to allow emotional support animals to travel in the cabin with their owner/handler.
As well as guaranteeing access, both the FHA and ACAA prohibit landlords or airlines from charging for the accommodations afforded to emotional support animals. To have your ESA recognized by these laws, you must have a valid ESA letter.
Which Animals are Good Emotional Support Animals?
The most popular ESAs, are dogs and cats. However, as long as your ESA helps you deal with an emotional need like anxiety, insomnia, AD/HD, depression or PTSD, it is a good ESA.
That being said, there are disadvantages for having certain animals as an ESA. Your request for reasonable accommodation for your ESA might be denied based on:
- Size – it is unreasonable to expect certain types of housing and commercial airlines to accept a large animal such as a horse, cow or llama.
- Safety – if a landlord or commercial airlines is convinced that an animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others and they cannot reduce or eliminate that threat by reasonable accommodation, they could deny access to your ESA.
- Damages – if a landlord or commercial airline can show that your ESA would cause significant physical damage to their facility/equipment or the property of others and cannot reduce or eliminate that potential damage reasonable accommodation, they could deny access to your ESA.
Be aware that most airlines have specific ESA policies that should be reviewed prior to booking a flight, some list which animals can and cannot join you on your flight
How Do I Get an ESA Letter?
An easy and affordable method of getting and ESA letter is working with the DOGtor and our vast network of licensed mental health professionals. We’ve helped thousands of Americans get their ESA letter and we can help you get yours.