- 1 FAQ’s
- 1.0.1 What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
- 1.0.2 Does my pet qualify as an Emotional Support Animal?
- 1.0.3 Can I qualify for more than one emotional support animal?
- 1.0.4 I have a large dog. Do Emotional Support Animals have a size limit? Are any specific breeds excluded?
- 1.0.5 What if I don’t qualify for an ESA?
- 1.0.6 What is the difference between an ESA and a service dog?
- 1.0.7 How do I register my emotional support dog?
- 1.0.8 Do emotional support animals require training?
- 1.0.9 Does my emotional support animal need an ESA vest to travel or live with me?
- 1.0.10 If approved for an ESA, is my ESA allowed to be taken in the cabin of airplane when traveling?
- 1.0.11 Can I bring my emotional support animal to hotels?
- 1.0.12 What if my emotional support animal destroys property or creates a disturbance?
- 1.0.13 If I have an ESA letter can I avoid paying a pet deposit?
- 1.0.14 Can I just have my primary care doctor write an ESA letter for me?
- 1.0.15 Does the DOGtor work with licensed professionals?
- 1.0.16 Will my letter come from the DOGtor?
- 1.0.17 Can my ESA letter be easily verified?
- 1.0.18 How do I pay for my ESA letter?
- 1.0.19 How much does an ESA letter cost?
- 1.0.20 Does the DOGtor offer a discounted renewal fee?
- 1.0.21 Is the DOGtor on social media?
What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
An Emotional Support Animal, or ESA, is an animal that provides support and comfort to its owner to help them with an emotional disability or mental health issue. Since ESAs are not required to have any special training, they do not qualify as service animals under the the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Emotional Support Animals are, however, recognized for certain housing and commercial airline access under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).
Does my pet qualify as an Emotional Support Animal?
If your pet’s companionship helps you with an emotional, mental or psychological disability then yes, they qualify. ESAs do not require specific training to be able to provide comfort or emotional support.
Can I qualify for more than one emotional support animal?
Yes. There are no laws barring multiple emotional support animals. Understand, however, that the requirements of reasonable accommodation are the same for each animal and a licensed mental health professional would have to prescribe multiple ESAs. Depending on the number and type of emotional support animals you have, reasonable accommodation could be challenged as an undue burden on the entity being asked to make accommodation for your ESAs.
I have a large dog. Do Emotional Support Animals have a size limit? Are any specific breeds excluded?
No. Any size or breed that you can properly handle can be an emotional support animal. There is no size discrimination allowed when it comes to emotional support animals, and there are no dog breeds excluded.
What if I don’t qualify for an ESA?
If, following a review of your assessment by a licensed mental health professional, you do not qualify, you will receive a same-day 100% refund. That’s the DOGtor guarantee.
What is the difference between an ESA and a service dog?
An emotional support animal offers love and companionship to ease an emotional disability or mental health related disability recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. An ESA does not need specific training. ESAs are protected under the Fair Housing Amendment Act (FHAA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).
A service animal is highly trained to assist its owner perform specific tasks, such as seeing, hearing, or walking. Service animals are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
While ESAs are allowed in primary rental housing and commercial airline cabins, service dogs are allowed to accompany their owner almost anywhere they go including public buildings, restaurants, banks, airplanes, hotels, supermarkets, etc.
How do I register my emotional support dog?
You do not have to register your emotional support animal. All you need is a valid ESA letter from a mental health professional detailing your needs for an ESA. There are no legal requirements fo you to register your ESA in any database.
Do emotional support animals require training?
While service animals must have specific training, emotional support animals do not. You are, however, encouraged to train your ESA to behave well in a public setting.
Does my emotional support animal need an ESA vest to travel or live with me?
No. There are no legal requirements that your emotional support animal display any indication of the ESA role. Many ESA owners, however, chose to have their ESA wear a vest or other identification to make their ESA more easily identifiable in public places. Under no circumstances should your misrepresent your emotional support animal as a service animal.
If approved for an ESA, is my ESA allowed to be taken in the cabin of airplane when traveling?
Yes, but we always recommend that you check with the airline you are planning to fly with first, just to make sure you have a clear understanding of what is needed so there aren’t any surprises at check in. Although the airline has to offer reasonable accomodations, there are limits. For details check out Flying with Your Emotional Support Animal.
Can I bring my emotional support animal to hotels?
Your rights to have an ESA are only protected within your primary rental housing and/or in the cabin of an aircraft when flying. Current laws do not require hotels, motels, restaurants, busses, trains, and taxis to accept emotional support animals on their premises. There are, however, hotels and other businesses that are pet friendly. Call ahead and ask the management about their policy with ESAs. They might allow an ESA for an extra fee or other requirement. If they do not allow animals, they might have suggestions for a comparable businesses that will.
What if my emotional support animal destroys property or creates a disturbance?
Emotional support animals, as all assistance animals, must be handled properly by their owner. You are responsible for behavior of your ESA and for damages they may cause. Understand that landlords and airlines can use any destructive, aggressive, or disturbance causing behavior by your ESA as the basis for denying your request for accommodation.
If I have an ESA letter can I avoid paying a pet deposit?
Yes. With a proper ESA letter, your landlord cannot charge you additional rent or require an additional pet deposit for having an emotional support animal. You will, however, be responsible for any damages caused to the property by your ESA.
Can I just have my primary care doctor write an ESA letter for me?
Yes, you can ask, but be aware that many primary care doctors don’t fully subscribe to the benefits of an animal being used as medical treatment. Most primary care doctors have been trained to treat emotional and psychological disabilities in different ways, such as prescription drugs. Also, many doctors are not well-versed on what property managers and airlines may legally require in a prescription, so their letter might not be written properly and be denied.
Does the DOGtor work with licensed professionals?
Yes. We only work with medical doctors, therapists, and clinical social workers who are licensed and in good standing with the medical board in the state in which their license was issued.
Will my letter come from the DOGtor?
No. We are a referral service so, if approved, your ESA letter will come from the prescribing mental health professional who reviewed your medical questionnaire submission. Your ESA letter will come on their official letterhead with their contact and medical licensing information.
Can my ESA letter be easily verified?
Yes. A landlord or airline can directly contact the licensed professional who approved your ESA. All of their contact information (phone, fax and email address) will be included on your letter.
How do I pay for my ESA letter?
You can pay with American Express, Discover, Mastercard, and Visa, whichever you prefer.
How much does an ESA letter cost?
The DOGtor has 3 different pricing options, so you can customize our service to your needs. One option covers only housing, another covers only travel, and the third, and most popular and cost effective plan, covers both housing and travel.
Does the DOGtor offer a discounted renewal fee?
Yes. Our Compassion Plan offers a discounted annual fee to update your ESA letters.