Answers to some of our most Frequently Asked Questions


What’s the difference between an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) and a Service Dog?

Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are animals that provide therapeutic benefits to their owner through affection and companionship. A Service Dog is specially trained to perform a task to help someone with a disability. A seeing eye dog is one example of a Service Dog. Unlike a Service Dog, an emotional support animal does not need specialized training to handle a task. Further, Emotional Support Animals come in different breeds and animal types and are not just limited to dogs, while Service Animals are either dogs or mini horses.

How do I take my ESA on an airplane?

Many airlines will ask that you notify them in advance when traveling with an Emotional Support Animal. Each airline has their own individual policies so please check their ESA policy before booking a flight. Most airlines in 2018 now require a reasonable accommodation form to be signed off by the therapist who has evaluated you. Please notify AmericanESA.org before purchasing a travel letter if we can accommodate that specific airline’s request.

My dog is very large. Do Emotional Support Animals have a size limit?

No. There is no size discrimination allowed when it comes to Service Dogs and ESA’s. ESA’s come in various shapes and sizes and airlines are required to allow ESA’s dog to accompany you to your seat regardless of the size. It’s important to note that there is no size limit for Service Dogs.

Are emotional support animals allowed in all public places?

Unlike service dogs, Emotional Support Animals do not have access rights to all public areas. However, ESA’s of certain sizes can be brought on airplanes and allowed to live in pet free housing. Service Dogs, however, are allowed to accompany their owners wherever they go.

What type of proof should I have with me when traveling or moving into a new house with my Emotional Support Animal?

The law requires all ESA’s to have a letter which written by a mental health professional. The letter states that the Emotional Support Animal provides therapeutic value to its owner and verifies the validity of the ESA.

If you do not have your ESA evaluation letter yet, you can get one from our mental health professional by purchasing it on the products page or over the phone.

Is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) allowed on a plane?

An Emotional Support Animal may fly in the cabin of a commercial or private airline with their handler and the handler is not required to pay a pet fee. Airlines require an ESA prescription letter from a licensed mental health profession as well as advance notice in most cases that the passenger will be flying with an ESA.

Is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) allowed in no pet housing?

Landlords and property managers must make reasonable accommodations for tenants or prospective tenants with Emotional Support Animals, even if the apartment, house, or college dorm does not allow pets. A reasonable fee may only be asked by the landlord if there is any damage to the property as a result of your animal, otherwise no other fees may be imposed. Property managers/landlords may require the tenant complete a mental health professional Third Party Verification form.

If you’re wondering whether you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), you can sign up for an evaluation letter from one of our mental health professionals here.

Is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) required to wear any identifying clothes or a harness?

Federal law does not require Service Dogs or Emotional Support Animals to wear any type of clothing or harnesses. However, we strongly encourage this since harnesses, leashes, patches and identifying items cut down on the hassles and unnecessary explanations when in public. We have found that these products drastically save time and frustration.

How does one get a therapy dog for anxiety or other psychological disorders?

To have your dog qualify as an Emotional Support Animal (therapy dog) a licensed mental health professional must determine whether the animal provides therapeutic value to its owner.

If you do not have your ESA evaluation letter yet, you can sign up for an assessment with one of our mental health professionals. They will complete a psychological evaluation to determine whether you qualify for an Emotional Support Animal.

Who can I talk to for legal advice?

If you have run into any legal issues or discrimination concerning your ESA and housing please contact HUD.

  • Phone: 1-800-669-9777
  • Online: Click Here

If you run into any issues with an airline and your ESA you may contact the Department of Transportation.

  • Phone: 202-366-2220
  • Online: Click Here