Emotional Assistance Dogs, Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) or Comfort Animals
Therapy dogs, service dogs, psychiatric service dogs, assistance dogs, seeing eye dogs, emotional assistance dogs, emotional support animals (ESAs), comfort animals, facility dogs – all those titles – ever wonder what they mean? We’re going to explain the differences. In previous blogs we talked about therapy dogs and service dogs. Today we’re going to talk about emotional assistance dogs, emotional support animals (ESAs) and comfort animals.
Emotional assistance dogs, emotional support animals (ESAs) and /or comfort animals provide emotional support to a person. They calm the person down and provide company to that person.
Emotional Assistance Dogs, Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) or Comfort Animals Law
Animals falling in this category are NOT considered service dogs/animals and therefore do NOT have the full public access rights that a service dog/animal working with a person with a disability has, however they must be allowed to:
• fly in the cabin with a person who has an emotional or psychological disability at NO additional charge
• they must be allowed in “no-pet” housing.
Due to many people abusing the privileges of animals in this category, guidelines have become more restrictive. Airlines and housing authorities may request a current (within the last year) letter from a physician or mental health professional stating the person actually has a diagnosis that limits one or more life activities that the dog assists with.
Emotional support dogs do not have to be professionally trained, however they must be well-behaved and housebroken.
An emotional support dog should wear a vest or tag indicating that they are an emotional support animal.
Emotional support dogs can assist with:
• Bipolar disorder
• Mood disorder
• Panic attacks
• Suicidal thoughts/tendancies