The designation of an emotional support animal is an important one – the animal in question is no longer just a pet but becomes an integral tool for your overall emotional health. With so many people dealing with isolation, loneliness, and loss following the global pandemic, emotional support animals have been more important than ever. When you have an emotional support animal, you have a companion for life. They bring you comfort when you most need it, they know your moods and can lift your spirits, and they can help you regulate your central nervous system after startling events. Their cuddles, their love, and their attention makes the heaviness of tough days feel lighter.
Because the role an emotional support animal takes on is so important, it’s also vital that you have the appropriate paperwork that clearly identifies your emotional support animal as such. When you have the right paperwork, you don’t have to deal with housing-related pet fees or other pet restrictions, allowing you to live your life in the best possible way with your emotional support animal calmly beside you.
If you think that your pet is ready to become an emotional support animal and deserves the designation and the benefits that come along with it, then you’re ready to explore some of the emotional support animal letter services we’ve outlined below. Getting an ESA letter doesn’t have to be complicated. There are services dedicated to ensuring that your emotional support animal has the proper paperwork they need, which can help lessen hassles when dealing with landlords in particular.
Not all emotional support animal letter services are the same, though, so we spent time doing all the research to make sure that we are only recommending top-rated services that help you get the certification you need for your emotional support animal ESA and help get you on your way with ease. You probably have some questions about the whole process, so we took the time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions at the end of this article. By the time you read through to the end, you’ll know everything you need to know with regard to getting your beloved animal a valid emotional support letter.
Top 3 Emotional Support Animal Letter Services
- Certapet – Editor’s Choice for Best Overall Service
- Emotional Pet Support – Top-Rated Customer Support
- Pettable – Best for Quick Turnaround
Top Services for Emotional Support Animal Letters: Reviews
1. Certapet – Editor’s Choice for Best Overall Service
- Easy telehealth appointment setup
- Speak with a real licensed mental health professional
- 100% compliant both on federal and state levels
- Fast turnaround
- Offers letter consultations for both emotional support animals and psychiatric service dogs
- Money-back guarantee excludes a small consultation fee
With CertaPet, you can easily get an ESA letter consultation you can trust. They offer a free pre-screening, and their secure process is fast and simple. They’ve been recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, Inc., and Fox, among other reputable platforms. They’ve helped over 65,000 clients improve their lives with an animal letter that is 100% compliant with federal and state laws and that uses the help from real licensed mental health professionals.
It’s important to understand that not everyone is eligible for an ESA letter. With CertaPet’s easy service, you’re guided through a process that starts with a free screening and which is followed up by a session with a licensed mental health professional, who will determine if an emotional support animal best suits your needs. An emotional support animal can make a great addition to treatment plans for those who are dealing with a mental illness or disorder such as anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, and others. The LMHP will learn more about your situation and make their recommendation based on your needs. If they feel you’re a great candidate for an emotional support animal, they’ll issue you an emotional support letter.
Once you are issued a custom treatment plan that includes your emotional support animal letter, you can access it from CertaPet’s secure online portal for easy ESA letter online use and print it out as a PDF. You can also have your ESA letter mailed directly to your home address via USPS. You don’t have to visit any doctors’ office at any point to speak with a licensed therapist. CertaPet makes it easy for you to have a telehealth appointment with a licensed mental health professional in your state right from the comfort of your own home.
Additionally, CertaPet’s customer support team is dedicated to providing you with all the information you need along the way and are happy to answer any questions you have that might come up at any point. Customers rave about their service, noting how heard and understood they feel every step of the way, seeing that their mental health issues are taken seriously.
With CertaPet, there are mental health professionals ready to help you when it comes to getting an emotional support animal, and the process is extremely easy and fast. The initial free screening only takes five minutes, and you’ll know instantly if you’re a good candidate for a valid ESA letter. When you visit their website, you can get started right away. It’s also important to note that CertaPet also offers consultations for psychiatric service dogs, a type of assistance animal that enjoys public access privileges such as free travel. In fact, in addition to an ESA housing letter, they also offer other plans such as a PSD housing letter and PSD air travel letter.
2. Emotional Pet Support – Top-Rated Customer Support
- Same day ESA approval options
- Easy and free online exam for your convenience
- Mental health professionals review your exam
- They do not accept medical insurance to cover exam fees
Emotional Pet Support has over 200,000 satisfied customers. They stand by the service they offer and will provide you with a 100% refund if you’re not completely satisfied with their service (so long as you request a full refund within 30 days of purchase).
You can get same-day ESA approval because they have mental health professionals available seven days a week. They can even send your letter via an electronic PDF through their HIPAA-compliant server so that you have easy access to the information you need. To start, you can take their free one-minute exam, or you can choose to continue with a full, 10-minute ESA questionnaire.
An optional ESA certificate is available and recommended for apartment and housing use. In the questionnaire, you can enter your name along with the information of the animal that you would like to designate as your emotional support pet.
Once you complete the one-minute exam or fill out the questionnaire in its entirety, you’ll be connected with a doctor or mental health professional via telehealth services who reviews your exam and writes out your ESA letter. Each exam is conducted by a qualified mental health professional so that you can keep your companion animal at your side in your living environment. Emotional Pet Support knows animals that help people with mental illness and emotional disabilities have a right to stay alongside their humans to keep them as comfortable as possible during the day and at night. The Fair Housing Act protects your rights toward this end. Their passion for keeping these animals together with their humans has allowed them to create a service that puts the law on your side.
This service has been recognized on platforms like TEDx, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. They have an overwhelming number of positive reviews with satisfied customers who report a smooth experience, quick turnaround, and relief knowing that they have the documentation to bring their animal along with them in housing situations without dealing with added fees or restrictions.
3. Pettable – Best for Quick Turnaround
- Easy and convenient online process
- Compliant with federal and state laws
- Quick turnaround for ESA certification
- Consultations are only conducted over the phone
With Pettable, you can get your pet certified within 24 hours. This document is both written and signed by a licensed mental health professional and clearly identifies your pet as part of an ongoing treatment plan to help you deal with your mental and/or emotional disability. So long as you qualify during your evaluation, you will be able to obtain a fast ESA letter that allows you to live with your ESA even when apartment and other housing restrictions dictate a ‘no pets allowed’ policy. Your emotional support animal will also be exempt from any additional fees such as pet deposits or other pet fees that landlords may charge. Essentially, you won’t have to experience any kind of discrimination that limits you from living with your ESA.
You can easily apply online and get a recommendation directly from licensed professionals in as little as 24 hours. It’s a simple, three-step process: First, you take a 3-minute quiz so that Pettable can match you to the right therapist as part of their ESA evaluation. Then, you’ll have a phone consultation with a licensed mental health professional in your state so that they can make a determination about whether an emotional support animal best suits your needs. If the mental health professional feels you qualify for an ESA, you’ll receive your ESA letter in 24 hours.
For those who need their ESA letter right away, Pettable is a great option. Their process connects you with licensed medical professionals for the ESA consultation and recommendation. Once your ESA letter is sent, you’ll be able to download a copy of your ESA letter to keep on your mobile device and you’ll also be able to print a copy to have with you for use when speaking with your landlord.
This service is trusted by countless ESA owners, as they allow those with mental disabilities to stay compliant with federal law when it comes to moving and living with their ESA. Pettable offers a legitimate ESA letter you can use for your needs. When it comes to your ESA letter, Pettable also offers ongoing ESA letter support so that you never run into any issues or snags as you work toward getting accommodations for housing.
What is the ESA Letter For?
Emotional support animal letters are official documents that have been written and signed by a qualified mental health professional. These letters are meant to document that your pet serves a specific purpose related to your mental or emotional disability. They officially recognize your pet as an ESA, which ensures that you won’t have to be separated from your pet when it comes to housing accommodations. There are many restrictions surrounding pets, like landlords that demand pet fees or that enforce a no-pets policy. Those kinds of restrictions discriminate against people who need their pet for emotional support, and that’s why an ESA letter exists, to protect you and your emotional support animal from facing discriminatory practices against individuals with mental and emotional disabilities.
Having an ESA comes with several benefits. You’ll be protected from regulations that would otherwise keep you and your ESA apart when it comes housing, thanks to the Fair Housing Act. As a result of these federal laws and housing regulations, people with disabilities are permitted to have an ESA regardless of any “no pets” policy. The same holds true for landlords who demand pet fees or other payments like pet deposits or pet rent in order for your animal to live with you. Such pet fees and deposits are not legal when it comes to emotional support animals and the Fair Housing Act, and an ESA letter grants your pet exemption from these fees and deposits, because your pet serves as vital emotional support that keeps you in a regulated emotional state.
If you’ve ever dealt with discrimination from a landlord, an ESA letter can help you get justice. If you’ve been charged pet fees and have an emotional support animal, you can request a refund from your landlord with a document that confirms your pet is actually an emotional support animal. Basically, an ESA letter gives you the freedom to live with your ESA and it protects you against discriminatory practices.
When it comes to travel, the U.S. Department of Transportation granted airlines the right to no longer recognize emotional support animals as service animals as of January 11, 2021. This means that it’s up to each individual airline to decide whether or not they will charge a pet fee if you decide to travel with your ESA. Some airlines also may not permit your ESA in the main cabin due to size and weight limitations. It’s always important to contact your air carrier of choice before booking travel to learn more about whether or not they allow ESAs, and what their ESA policies and restrictions are.
How to Qualify for an ESA Letter?
To legally qualify for an ESA letter, you need to have a mental health diagnosis recognized by licensed mental health professionals. The types of mental illness or mental disorders that qualify for an ESA letter are many, and include diagnoses like generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Other conditions like depression also help you qualify for an ESA letter.
Your therapist will determine if the condition or disorder you’re experiencing is enough to qualify as a disability that requires the help of an emotional support animal based on its inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual and on their consultation with you. You should also receive a treatment plan from a professional mental health counselor that includes medication, therapy, or a combination of both.
Before writing and signing the ESA letter, the licensed therapist should also be able to attest that your pet will be able to help with the symptoms associated with your mental health condition. For example, if you regularly suffer from panic attacks, your pet should be able to bring you the comfort you need to endure the intensity of the attacks and to help you calm down and recover afterward. Another example is if you regularly have night terrors and nightmares; your pet should be able to console you and help alleviate the fear and anxiety that those difficult nights bring about. Essentially, your licensed therapist must confirm that your animal is a requisite for ensuring that your day-to-day functioning is supported.
What Types of Pets Can Be an Emotional Support Animal?
An ESA can be any animal that provides therapeutic assistance for people who are mentally or emotionally disabled. These animals provide their owners with companionship, affection, and help to create purpose and focus in their lives. The most common type of ESA is a dog; however, cats and other domestic animals like rabbits are often certified as emotional support animals as well.
Though dogs and cats are the most common emotional support animals, any domestic animal can qualify as an ESA. This could be anything from birds to rats to minipigs and even hedgehogs. They don’t have to be any particular age, which means puppies and kittens can qualify as emotional support animals too.
Unlike service animals, emotional support animals don’t need to have any kind of specific training. This is because their presence alone is the therapeutic support for the person dealing with the mental or emotional disability. The only real condition for an ESA is that the animal must behave appropriately when in public and doesn’t create any kind of trouble in its dwelling area.
How Does One Get an Emotional Support Animal?
If you’re interested in an ESA, there are a few steps you should take to be sure you’re following the process of getting a legitimate ESA letter. Remember, a true emotional support animal is more than just a pet, though the language is often interchangeable across different websites and for different owners. A real ESA is an assistance animal that helps people with disabilities have an equal chance at enjoying reasonable accommodations when it comes to housing the same way others do.
- The first step for getting an emotional support animal is to honestly answer if you would benefit from having an ESA. This can be determined through the questionnaires available through the sites we outlined above and can provide you with the insights you need to make that determination. If you have already received a diagnosis for a mental health condition like anxiety, depression, phobias or attention deficit disorder, then you should easily qualify for an ESA letter. If you’re not sure if you have one of these conditions but suspect that you may be suffering from the symptoms associated with a mental health condition, you can reach out to speak with a licensed professional who can help you understand if what you’re experiencing is in line with the diagnostic criteria for a mental health disability.
- Once you know that you either have a condition or suspect you may have a condition, you should connect with a licensed healthcare provider. By using one of the services above, you can complete a questionnaire and get connected with a licensed professional within the same process. This makes it a lot easier than having to shop around for a licensed therapist in your area and can facilitate the process of getting the ESA letter more quickly so that you don’t have to deal with additional stressors or setbacks, which could actually exacerbate your mental health condition. Particularly if you deal with depression or anxiety, some of these tasks may feel overwhelming and you may never get to them. Having a one-stop shop that makes this process easy and convenient for you can be a complete lifesaver.
- After you’ve gone through the first two steps and a licensed professional has issued you an ESA letter, you can go ahead and adopt an ESA if you don’t already have an animal that can be designated as such. If you haven’t been experiencing the comfort and care that comes with having an ESA, you can reach out to your local rescue or animal shelter to find the ideal lifetime companion who will soothe your worries and bring an immense amount of joy into your life. It’s important to remember that having an ESA is a lifelong commitment that you make toward bettering your mental and emotional health. These assistance animals can learn to love you in the way that you need. Developing a strong bond with your ESA is critical, and it’s worth taking the time to find an ESA that has the right personality to complement yours.
- Although your ESA does not require task-specific training, you should still invest time with basic training to make sure that your ESA knows how to behave in public and remains calm during new or chaotic situations, such as when you’re traveling. This kind of training can be done on your own; however, you can also work with a local trainer to get helpful tips and help your ESA socialize.
Can you have more than one ESA?
You can have more than one emotional support animal as long as the animals do not break any state or municipal regulations and your therapist agrees that your ESAs are for your well-being. It’s important to note that you will need individual ESA letters for each of your emotional support animals. They should be renewed every year to be sure you are in compliance with federal and state laws as well. Since there are no hard and fast restrictions about how many ESAs you can have, you can have multiple emotional support animals as long as you meet these requirements.
What makes a legitimate ESA letter?
For an ESA letter to be legitimate, it has to be written and signed by a licensed mental health professional. An ESA letter may also be signed by a healthcare professional such as a psychiatrist or doctor. The letter itself must be printed on the licensed professional’s letterhead. The letter must include their licensing information and must be signed and dated by the professional who wrote it. The ESA letter must also clearly establish that the patient has a confirmed disability, and it should also note that the ESA provides support to the patient.
Just like with anything, the internet comes along with legitimate and illegitimate services. It’s important you know what a legitimate ESA letter contains so that you don’t get scammed by a service that delivers a letter without proper federal and state compliance.
Do emotional support animals have a size limit?
There are no size limits or restrictions when it comes ESAs. Any animal qualifies to be an emotional support animal regardless of species. Dogs can also be confirmed as ESAs regardless of their breed. However, while there are no restrictions on species or sizes when it comes to emotional support animals, large ESAs may face limitations in certain instances. Specific airlines, for example, may not allow dogs of certain breeds onboard flights, and large dogs may not be allowed on a plane’s main cabin due to size restrictions. It’s always essential to speak with your airline of choice before booking travel to understand their policies when it comes to traveling with an animal.
Are ESAs allowed in all public places?
ESAs may experience some restrictions in public areas. While they can accompany you in parks and other publicly owned spaces, private businesses like stores and restaurants have the right to deny your ESA entry, even if you provide your ESA paperwork. This is because emotional support animals are not considered service dogs and therefore do not have public access privileges through the Americans with Disabilities Act.
An ESA letter comes with many benefits because it clearly identifies your animal as an assistance animal that serves a role in your treatment plan. You can use your ESA letter for your housing accommodations by submitting it to your landlord. Let them know you’re requesting reasonable accommodations. Your landlord has up to 10 days to respond to your request, though you’ll usually find that they respond much more quickly.
Unfortunately, there are people trying to pass off fake ESA letters just to get away with not paying housing-related pet fees. Though it creates doubt around the role of ESAs, emotional support animals are great companions for people who suffer from mental health conditions, and they make a massive difference in the quality of life for these individuals.
If you’re dealing with an ‘invisible’ disability, you’re not alone. An ESA can help improve your day-to-day life and can keep you company during tough nights when you’re struggling. You’re protected under the Fair Housing Act, and you have a right to have your ESA with you wherever you live.
If you’re ready to certify your animal and release the headaches of housing-related pet restrictions and pet fees, an ESA letter will bring you endless comfort while protecting your rights.