Emotional Support Dog vs. Service Dogs
ESAs provide support through companionship and can help ease anxiety, depression, and certain phobias. However, they are not service dogs, and ESA users do not receive the same accommodations as service dog users.
A service dog, such as a guide dog or psychiatric service dog, is generally allowed anywhere the public is allowed; ESAs are not. For example, ESAs generally cannot accompany their owners into restaurants or shopping malls.
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” The act clearly states that animals that simply provide emotional comfort do not qualify as service animals. Some state and local laws have a broader definition, so be sure to check with local government agencies to learn if ESAs qualify for public access in your area.
The key difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog is whether the animal has been trained to perform a specific task or job directly related to the person’s disability. For example, service dogs are trained to alert a hearing-impaired person to an alarm or guide a visually impaired person around an obstacle or provide pressure on someone with PTSD who is suffering from a panic attack.
Behaviors such as cuddling on cue, although comforting, do not qualify. The tasks need to be specifically trained to mitigate a particular disability, not something instinctive the dog would do anyway.
Every dog owner knows there are many benefits to having a dog, from getting themselves out for exercise to receiving loyal companionship. However, for some people with mental or emotional conditions, the presence of a dog is critical to their ability to function normally on a daily basis. The pet provides emotional support and comfort that helps them deal with challenges that might otherwise compromise their quality of life. These pets are known as emotional support animals (ESAs).
What Is An Emotional Support Dog?
An emotional support dog is more than just a pet â they provide support and comfort to individuals dealing with mental and emotional disabilities. Living with a disabling mental illness can negatively affect major life activities as well as day-to-day activities. An emotional support dog can help. As medical professionals learn more about mental health, they can diagnose and treat previously overlooked conditions. In many cases, an ESA is an essential part of coping with a mental or emotional disability.
ESAs are not the same as service animals because they arenât trained to perform specific tasks, such as guiding a blind person. An ESA can be just as important to a person as a service animal by offering a supportive and comforting presence. ESAs have certain rights under state and federal laws.
How To Get A Emotional Support Dog?
Do you have a superhero hound? You know the type… Always ready with a cuddle and a kiss when you need it. So excited to greet you at the door when you come home! That emphatic tail wag. That goofy smile. It warms your heart and makes you feel like a million bucks. Wish that you could give them some sort of superhero status that others would recognize? What about turning your pet pooch into an ESA? How does a dog become an emotional support dog? What are the emotional support dog requirements?