How to Get an ESA Dog Letter?

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How to Get an ESA Dog Letter?

Emotional support animals are known to provide therapeutic benefits to people suffering from mental health concerns. Essentially, ESA refers to domesticated animals such as rabbits, mice, ferrets, and more commonly dogs and cats. Simply living with these animals can help their owners or handlers manage symptoms of their mental health conditions. For anyone suffering from a mental health disability, a consultation with a licensed physician such as a psychologist, therapist, or psychiatrist will help them get their pet certified as an ESA.

Pets, more importantly, dogs have become acutely attuned to emotions and behavior of humans. Dogs are able to understand our words and are even better at interpreting our body language, tone of voice, and gestures. An ESA dog gauges the emotional state of their handler and tries to understand what they are feeling and thinking.

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Dogs can help reduce depression, stress, anxiety, encourage exercise, ease loneliness and also improve your cardiovascular health. Several studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that simply petting your ESA dog can help improve your mental health. That is why unlike service animals, ESA dogs do not require any kind of training. Their sole purpose is to help their owners with their mental health by providing comfort through their companionship. For this, they need no training.

What is an ESA Dog?

An ESA dog refers to your pet dog that helps manage symptoms of your mental health conditions. They are certified by licensed health professionals upon the evaluation of your mental health condition. Under U.S. law an ESA dog enjoys living privileges.

Although a very popular emotional therapy, a lot of people are unaware of the concept of emotional support animals. A significant part of our population is still unaware of the mental and physical health benefits of an ESA dog. To illustrate, there is no comprehensive treatment of psychoactive conditions such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety. Some prefer taking prescription medication while some seek therapy And others turn to animals to find comfort in their companionship.

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So, choose your form of treatment. Having an ESA dog has proven to be very effective. If you too believe having a dog will help manage your health and lead a happy life, we can help get you an ESA letter. The privileges that come with an ESA letter allows the owner to live with their pet in a rental apartment without any hassles.

Studies and research is testament to the therapeutic benefits of dogs and other ESA's. Here is what they suggest:

  • People living with pets are less likely to suffer from mental conditions such as depression than those without pets.
  • Pet owners experience lower blood pressure in stressful situations than other people.
  • Spending time with a dog or playing with them elevates happiness hormones such as serotonin and dopamine. This helps a person remain calm and relaxed.
  • People with pets have lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides that means they are less likely to experience heart problems.
  • Patients with pets survive longer after experiencing heart attacks.

What are the Benefits of an ESA Dog?

Having a pet proves to be therapeutic for people with mental health conditions. If your pet helps improve your condition, get ESA dog certification. With an ESA letter, you will get protection under the Fair Housing Act and the American Disabilities Act. An ESA letter comes with several advantages. These include:

Access to Restricted Places:

The letter allows your ESA to accompany you to places where you might not have been able to venture with your support animal otherwise. Although places such as parks, public stores, restaurants, and hotels have the right to deny access, an ESA dog letter could definitely help influence their decision.

Pet-Fee Exemption:

Living with your dog in a rental apartment often involves certain kind of pet fees. With an ESA letter, the owner is not obliged to pay any kind of pet fees to the landlord. The Fair Housing Act waives all kinds of pet fees that are typically involved when living in a rental apartment.

Enables Living With ESA Hassle-Free:

Finding a safe and affordable accommodation that allows dogs can be extremely difficult. With an ESA letter, you will be protected under the Fair Housing Act and the landlord cannot deny you to live with your dog. Even if the rental apartment has a no-pet policy, you can live with your dog hassle-free.

Get to Keep ESA in School:

It is almost impossible to believe that schools will allow students to bring their dogs along. However, many learning institutions allow people to bring their ESAs to school. For that, you must possess a valid ESA letter signed by a licensed medical health professional.

No Training Required:

Unlike service animals that require training to perform specific functions for their owners, emotional support animals do not require any training. Animals have the innate quality to provide unconditional love and support and require no training for that.

Manage Condition Effectively:

ESA dogs have proven to be effective in alleviating symptoms of mental health conditions such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression. If you are suffering from a mental or emotional disability and your dog helps manage your health, our licensed physicians can help you get an ESA certification dog.

How to Get Your Dog ESA Certified?

To get your dog ESA certified, you need to get an ESA letter from a licensed health professional. The ESA letter states that the pet will benefit the patient’s mental health condition. The letter allows patients to live with their pets hassle-free.

Essentially, an ESA letter is a recommendation from a doctor who believes that the ESA dog will help manage the patient’s mental health. This letter awards certain privileges that include living with the pet hassle-free. These privileges are secured under the Fair Housing Act.

To get things into perspective, if a person feels that their pet helps them with their mental condition, they can get the ESA letter which certifies their pet as an ESA. The document qualifies the individual to live in a rental housing without having to pay any extra charges. The best part about managing your health condition using dogs is that they do not interfere with your medication. In other words, you can continue taking your prescription medication or choose to stop it, the dogs will nevertheless provide you therapy. Also, remember the letter is only valid if it is signed by a licensed health professional.

The letter by the physician must state the animal is effective in managing the patient’s emotional health and it would be beneficial for his overall well being if he has an ESA dog. In addition, you must be versed with your ESA state laws as some states have their own regulations regarding the physicians who are allowed to recommend ESA letters.

As there has been a huge demand for ESA letters, there has been a huge influx of fraudulent letters and clinics. That is the reason why you must remain vigilant when getting a letter for your pet. There are certain conditions that your ESA letter must meet so as to be considered valid. Otherwise the HOAs, co-ops, and landlords have the authority to not accept them. The conditions are as follows:

An ESA letter for dog must include:

  • Date of issuance
  • Written on official physician letterhead
  • Diagnosis according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • ESA doctor name and signature
  • ESA doctor’s license number and state of issuance
  • Patient’s name and pet details (if available)
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How to get an ESA Dog Letter?

For an ESA letter to be valid, it must be written by a licensed health professional. Today, the process of getting an ESA dog letter is convenient and simple. To begin with, you must find a trusted health professional who has adequate knowledge about emotional support animals and mental health.

The health professional will evaluate the patient’s health condition through a face-to-face consultation. The doctor will check the medical history and evaluate existing medical health conditions. Essentially, the doctor will determine whether having an ESA dog will improve the patient’s condition. Upon approval from the doctor, the patient will receive the ESA dog letter through email in a PDF format within just a few minutes.

Patients can get ESA dog letters online as well as in-clinic. Interestingly, qualifying for a letter online is similar to that in-clinic. Both the processes are equally safe and secure. Essentially, it depends on the preference of the patient. It is true that the online process is much more convenient and hassle-free than getting the letter by physically visiting a clinic. Some prefer getting ESA letter for dog through telemedicine while others choose to get it from a physical clinic. Of Course with telemedicine the patient does not even have to leave their house to receive the letter. Simply, having an electronic device such as mobile phone, laptop, or computer with a working internet connection would help a person save all the time and hassle of physically visiting a clinic to get the letter.

At MyESADoctor, we have built a HIPAA compliant telemedicine portal that allows patients to receive face-to-face online consultations from licensed health professionals to get an ESA dog letter. And not just that, the online process gives patients the freedom of flexibility in terms of the appointment timings.

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Here's how to get an ESA Dog Letter Online:

  • Fill out our application form. All your personal information is kept safe and secure under HIPAA guidelines.
  • Connect with our licensed health professional and get evaluated through a face-to-face consultation.
  • Upon approval from the doctor, receive your ESA letter through email within minutes.

Who can write an ESA Dog Letter?

Any licensed health professional who is certified to provide ESA letters to patients with mental health conditions.

Here’s who can write an ESA Dog Letter:

  • Physicians
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Licensed Clinical Social Workers
  • Nurses
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Physician’s Assistants
  • Licensed Counselors, and other licensed health professionals.
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Also, your primary care physician or family doctor can also issue an ESA letter if they are licensed. In other words, you can consult your family doctor regarding your health condition and get the letter from them. However, it is essential that you ensure that the letter is legit.

To get things into perspective, getting ESA dog certification from an unlicensed physician or clinic is wasteful. The landlords, HOAs, and co-ops will not recognize the letter as valid. With that, you will also lose your credibility with the housing provider further making it more difficult for you to find a suitable accommodation.

ESA Dog Laws

An ESA letter comes with two important privileges. One is to live with your pet in a no-pet policy rental apartment without any hassles and the second was to fly in-cabin with your pet without paying any extra charges. However, the rules have changed and airlines no longer allow ESA's to travel in the cabin. You can fly with your ESA, provided you pay the pet fees and carry your ESA in a carrier. Let’s understand them in detail.

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Fair Housing Act

An ESA dog certification for housing allows owners to live with their pet without any hassles. For a person with a mental health condition, living with a dog that emotionally comforts the individual could help manage symptoms of his condition. That is why the ESA laws enacted allow owners to live with their ESAs even if the rental apartment bars domesticated animals. The law requires the landlord to make appropriate accommodation in the policies to make room for the emotional support dog. Also, by law the letter levies certain restrictions on the landlord. These include:

  • The landlord cannot demand or ask for ESAs training or its performance in certain tasks.
  • They are not allowed to inquire about the patient regarding their medical condition or ask for detailed medical records.
  • They cannot refuse admission over the reason that the insurance does not cover a particular breed or animal weight.
  • They are not allowed to demand any kind of pet fees to accommodate your dog.

That is why having an emotional support dog certification saves a lot of trouble when it comes to finding a suitable accommodation to live with their support dog. Although, legally the landlord cannot deny an emotional support dog, there are certain circumstances where the landlord can.

  • In case the landlord is residing in the same building and the building itself is less than four units.
  • When the property is included under single-family housing and does not involve any real estate broker.
  • The Fair Housing Act does not hold authority over the admission of emotional support dogs in public places such as cafes, hotels, or restaurants. On the contrary, service animals can be allowed according to the American Disability Act.

ESA Dog vs Service Dog

Service dogs are specifically trained to perform certain tasks for their owners who are suffering from a physical disability. This includes physical, sensory, intellectual, psychiatric or any other mental disability. In other words, a service dog is trained to auditory functions for the deaf, perform visual functions for the blind, and muscular tasks for the physically disabaled. Also, service dogs often act as medical alert animals for people who tend to suffer from sudden attacks. Most of them are typically trained for about four months before beginning service. Several people suffering from disabilities have recognized service dogs as a great solution. On the contrary, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, not all animals that an individual with a disability relies on is a service animal.

According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, an ESA dog is any dog that provides mental and emotional support in alleviating symptoms of a person’s mental health condition. Essentially, ESAs provide companionship and love which help relieve loneliness and manage anxiety and certain phobias, depression, and stress. They do not require any special training to perform certain tasks that service animals do.

The human with a disability in need of assistance is often referred to as the ‘handler.’ When it comes to accessibility, a handler might opt for an immediate need to bond with an assistance animal, and an ESA dog often gets the vote. In fact, any animal that can provide emotional comfort can qualify as an ESA. In contrast, not just any kind of dog can become a service animal. It has to be specifically trained for the purpose it needs to fulfill. On the other hand, a person who has a mental condition often requires love and compassion and who better to provide these than ESA dogs.

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Is it Necessary to Get an ESA Dog Registered?

No, it is not necessary to get an ESA dog registered. All you need to do is get an ESA dog letter and nothing more. Since an emotional support animal requires no training, there is no need to register your pet.

An ESA letter is enough for you and your dog to enjoy the benefits that come with the letter. The internet is filled with ESA registries but do not get influenced. Do not end up paying extra money to get your ESA dog registered. The only legitimate way of getting your dog protected under Fair Housing Act is an ESA letter. And we can help you get it without any hassles.

To get things into perspective, An ESA dog registration is not required by law. There are other steps that you need to take care in order to make your pet an ESA but getting it registered is not one of them. This is a very common misconception and that is why so many fraudulent ESA registries are taking advantage of the same. So, instead of going through the hassle of paying extra to register your dog as an emotional support animal, obtain an ESA letter from a licensed health professional.

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