What Are They & Why Would You Need One?

woman hugging her dog for support

ESA letters have become a more popular topic among pet owners recently. So I thought it’d be wise to cover what these letters are and why people would need one. After our article, you’ll know whether an emotional support animal letter is something you and your pet needs.

Dog looking at camera with text asking what are emotional support letters and why would you need one?

What is an ESA Letter?

ESA letters are crucial to making your dog an emotional support animal. You must get these letters to ensure your animal receives all benefits of being an ESA. But what is the difference between an ESA letter and a traditional doctor’s note?

An ESA letter is a recommendation written by a licensed healthcare professional. Goal has general practitioner might not be the right choice to write one. In most cases, you’ll get them from mental health professionals.

Sadly, many general doctors aren’t too familiar with ESA letters or refuse to provide them. So dog owners would be much better off with a mental health professional. Look for ones with a reputation for specializing in animal therapy and ESAs.

Some people may be able to use their regular therapist for these letters. It never hurts to ask them if they can write one for your specific condition. After all, your therapist will be most familiar with your mental health needs.

But if your therapist isn’t familiar with them, finding one who is shouldn’t be too difficult. These doctors are only one Google search away.

However, I’d suggest doing research into their practices before scheduling a session. You want to be comfortable and sure of their qualifications. Unfortunately, there are plenty of scams out there.

woman hugging her dog for support

What’s Considered a Legitimate ESA Letter?

ESA letter scammers are more common than people assume. Many pet owners will buy fake letters to gain benefits without using the proper channels. Similarly, people will set up phony registration sites to get money out of pet owners’ pockets.

So these issues make it vital to outline the conditions of a legitimate ESA letter. The first sign will be the document having professional letterhead. It’s a solid sign that the person issuing this ESA letter is the real deal.

A legitimate ESA letter will also have a signature from your physician or therapist. Never accept one without genuine proof of the doctor’s recommendation. Plus, it needs to have their contact information, the practice’s address on it, and your status as a patient.

Other crucial parts of an acceptable ESA letter include:

  • A statement indicating that an emotional support animal is necessary for your treatment.
  • Confirmation of a mental health condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
  • Proof the condition affects your ability to do daily activities. Some common examples include being in public areas or working.

If your ESA letter has all these, there shouldn’t be any issues with it. You’ll get all the benefits (see below) from having an ESA.

Check out the video below for more details on how they work:

How to Obtain an ESA Letter Online

If you don’t have access to a mental health expert, book an online therapy session to get an ESA letter. But I must warn anyone who goes this route to do some serious research into every potential website.

It’s the only way to ensure you’re using a good website. Furthermore, if you get caught using an illegitimate ESA letter, it can result in a fine. I’m guessing you’ll want to avoid paying any money to deal with this issue.

As for the process, most websites will require users to pay a fee. You’ll then have to fill out and answer various questions about your mental health. They want to provide the therapist with some background before starting the sessions.

They’ll put the patient in contact with a mental health professional. The therapist will set up an online video session or appointment in their offices. This session will cover most of what’s asked in the filled-out questions. It’s an effective way to ensure the patient isn’t lying to get ESA letter benefits.

The patient will choose from different ESA letter types if the session goes well. The choice comes down to whether you need one for housing, travel, or both. Choose wisely to ensure the letter can meet your specific ESA needs.

After you’ve passed, the letter should arrive in a few days. Your dog can then help you deal with anxiety, depression, and other conditions wherever they happen.

Why Would You Need an ESA Letter?

As I mentioned earlier, several benefits come from having an ESA letter. I’ll discuss them at length to ensure you why someone would need an ESA letter.

Health Benefits

Pet owners know the massive impact pets can make in their lives. For instance, I would be lost without mine. This connection only grows with ESAs as they help owners deal with many conditions:

  • Traumatic experiences
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Emotional distress
  • Loneliness
  • Abnormal blood pressure and heart rate
  • Stress
  • Triggering social situations

Of course, these are only some of the conditions that use ESA treatment. The complete list is in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Legal Benefits

An ESA letter protects animals and their owners from specific rules. Basically, they let you go into areas with your ESA where pets aren’t usually allowed. Here’s a quick list of restrictions that these letters will bypass:

  • An ESA letter will allow your pet to travel inside some commercial airplane cabins. Your dog will no longer be traveling with the luggage.
  • Protects you against any federal and rental housing rules that prevent owning pets. As you can imagine, this attribute makes apartment hunting much easier.
  • Bypasses any fees required to bring animals into rented domiciles. It should save you quite a bit, considering some pet fees are around 300 to 500 dollars.

If you want to learn more about ESAs, check out “13 Frequently Asked Questions About Emotional Support Animals.” It’ll cover almost everything you want to know about these animals.

To conclude

ESA letters are recommendations provided by a mental health professional. A legitimate one will offer benefits crucial to treating your mental health. It’ll allow your dog to provide comfort and support in whatever situation it’s needed.

If you have more questions about ESA letters, don’t hesitate to use our comment section. Thanks for reading!

  • Ben Ro

    My name is Ben Roberts, and I’ve been writing about animals for many years. Honestly, I couldn’t ask for a much better job, considering I’ve been around animals all my life. I can’t remember a time when there wasn’t at least one cat or dog inside my home. Currently, I’m a proud owner of a Beagle and a Pitbull who make sure my life is never dull.

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