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Everything You Need to Know About Emotional Support Animal Letters


It has become increasingly common in the last few years to see animals in public places that were once animal-free. And while part of this has to do with society being more accepting of animals in general, most of the reason for the increase can be attributed to a rise in service animals and emotional support animals.

Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal?

There is a very real difference between service animals or emotional support animals. In order to qualify as a service animal, a dog is typically trained from a young age to assist a person who may have a specific disability. Some service dogs help as a guide for people who cannot see well, others are trained to sense when someone is going to have a seizure. There are even dogs that are trained to help someone who experiences symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

To qualify as a legal service dog, it must be trained to do something that directly helps someone with a disability. Such animals are allowed by law to go wherever the general public goes including on public transportation, into buildings and any other place that is open to the general public.

An emotional support animal, on the other hand, does not need to have any type of special training. Their job, as defined by the ADA is to “provide companionship, relieve loneliness and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias”.
emotional support animal vs service animal

Emotional Support Animal Letters

An emotional support animal letter is a document that can be provided by a licensed therapist or mental health professional in San Francisco or in other parts of the United States. This type of letter states that an animal is medically beneficial to the owner. In order to prescribe an emotional support animal, a doctor or therapist must first be willing to certify that someone has a verifiable disability. Then, the person can qualify for special kinds of protection given by the US government.

Common Questions about Support Animal Letters

Who Can Qualify for an ESA Letter?

how to qualify for an emotional support animalAnyone who has been diagnosed with a psychological or emotional disability may be able to qualify for an ESA letter.  Some of these disabilities include:

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Postpartum Depression
  • General Anxiety Disorder
  • Depression
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder

Does an Emotional Support Animal Need Training?

Unlike service animals, emotional support animals do not need any specific training. Instead, they simply need to help a person to be able to function despite their level of disability. The better trained your support animal is, however, the more tolerant others are likely to be.

Can an Emotional Support Animal go Everywhere?

In most places, you can take an emotional support animal with you because it is illegal for places that are open to the general public to deny access to people with disabilities. Even if a restaurant or museum has a sign saying “No ESA Animals”, it is illegal for them to even ask why you have a support animal. The ADA website states “you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.”

Make sure to check the most recent rules for emotional support animals on airlines you may be flying with or any hotels you will be staying in to make sure you bring the correct ESA paperwork.

How long is a Support Animal Letter Good For?

Emotional Support Animal letters are typically valid for a full year, though be aware that some scam websites say that they are able to offer a letter that is good for a lifetime. ESA letters expire because the diagnosis and prescription must be renewed periodically just like any other type of prescription.

Is an Owner Required to Answer Questions about an Emotional Support Animal?

Though business owners of all types may be curious about your animal and wonder if it truly has a right to come everywhere with you, there are only two questions they are legally able to ask. First, they may ask if it is a service animal that is required because of a disability. Second, they are allowed to ask what service the animal has been trained to perform. Beyond that, they are legally required to allow the animal to go wherever the general public goes.

Does an Emotional Support Animal Need to Wear an Identifying Collar or Harness?

There is no requirement that an emotional support animal wear a special harness or collar, though this type of identification may help business owners or others around you to know that the animal is there for your support and not just as a pet.

Do I Need to Have my Animal’s Identification Papers With Me at All Times?

It is also not required that you carry your emotional support animal’s letter with you all of the time as it is illegal, according to the ADA for anyone to insist on seeing proof of your diagnosis/prescription. Again, at most, people are allowed to ask if your animal is a service animal that is required because of a disability and what service it is trained to perform.

Be Informed, Be Prepared

Understanding why an Emotional Support Animal letter in San Francisco is important is the first step to making life just a little bit easier. And though there are many internet sites that say they can provide an ESA letter, many are fraudulent. The qualified doctors at EZCare Clinic in San Francisco can help you to get going on the process of legalizing your emotional support animal, so you can be sure to have it with you when it is most needed.

Patients may call or schedule an appointment online to get an emotional support animal letter. We also offer an online ESA application, which is legitimate and signed by licensed California doctor. If you think you may need an emotional support animal, no matter where you live, don’t hesitate to reach out.


  • William Bordages

    September 6, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    My mother died about 6-7 years ago and I inherited her dog ” Chester”. For the most part I hated that little dude because he was a constant reminder of her demise. Every day for about 2 months i would come home and he would be jumping on me all exited to see me but it bothered me because his simple presence was nuisance to me. I gave him away to another family member and shortly after i began to feel even worse than i did when i had him. I went in to the ezcare medical clinic and i spoke to the dr. about my suspected depression and she suggested i get an emotional support animal. I honestly felt really dumb because i kind of already had that and i gave him away. I called up my cousin and got chester back and went back to the clinic and the physician helped me get my esa letter for him to be able to live with me. Day by day im starting to heal and hopefully chester fills that void i feel deep n my heart for losing my mom. I am really grateful to dr. daniels because i thought maybe meds would be the way to go. this just seems so much better and effective.


  • Andrea Harris

    September 13, 2018 at 7:14 am

    One of the basic purposes of keeping an ESA is to relieve stress & depression. There are certain situations when someone prefers loneliness to company. The person loses interest in all types of activities. These include eating, working, studies and even respond to a person who is speaking to the affected patient. Experienced mental health physicians like My ESA Doctor, besides prescribing conventional medicines, also recommend the company of an ESA. They also provide 2-in-1 ESA letter for dual purposes use.


  • Daniel Jameson

    October 23, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    Thanks for providing valuable information! This is all anyone looking to register his pet as an emotional support animal should know. An ESA letter signed by a popular clinic like Medical Clinic provides you with many benefits. You need not pay hefty amounts as pet deposits to your landlord or to an airline while boarding an airplane. You can get full freedom to live with your pet even if your landlord has a no pet policy. With online services, getting an ESA letter has become very easy and convenient.


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Emotional support animals follow their owners to areas that are off-limits to other pets. This is because they’re recommended as a treatment for mental afflictions like anxiety, depression, even PTSD. Not to be mistaken for service animals. The main distinction is its functions. Apply for ESA Letter Today! BOOK AN APPOINTMENT While ESAs are companions, service animals help their disabled handlers with duties such as answering the door, carrying medicine, and guiding their movement. ESAs don’t need extra conditioning like their service counterparts whose training ranges from heeling, proofing, and performing specific tasks. Another difference is their certification. Your disability should match the ADA description for your service animal to be recognized. Conversely, an ESA letter is provided by your therapist. How ESAs Improve Your Travel Experience By lifting your mood, support animals eliminate the need for anxiety medication on your journey. Pills may be effective, but you’ll still have side effects like fatigue and nausea. Furthermore, they act as distractions during long trips. Instead of worrying, your mind is occupied by the animal. The fact that you have another creature to care for besides yourself gives you purpose. They thought of bonding with your pet may make an otherwise reserved person crave for adventure. ESAs also spark conversations between strangers. This is especially true for moments packed with tension like turbulence. Travel Necessities for Your ESA Traveling with their handlers gives ESAs an edge over ordinary pets. If you think moving with an animal is stressful, try it with a mental condition. Here are some trip essentials regardless of your mode of transport. Things to pack while travelling 5 Things to Pack While Travelling 1. ESA Letter An ESA letter is mandatory for any support animal in a plane cabin. For the document to be valid, however, it must fulfill the following specifications. The letter is on your issuing therapist’s letterhead. You’re currently under a licensed professional’s care. The letter contains the license date, type, and issuing state. Your illness is found in the DSM. You need the ESA for the trip or destination. The document requires an annual update. Ensure you alert the airline beforehand. Initially, you could show up with your pet without an announcement. The rules have since changed with most carriers requiring a 48-hour notice. Again, check your destination’s guidelines regarding support animals. Not all countries allow ESAs from foreign lands. 2. Travel Crate Apart from transportation, a travel crate protects your furry companion from harsh conditions like snow and rain. You’ll have to train your ESA if they’ve never experienced a carrier. In the initial stages, don’t lock the crate with the animal inside. The idea is viewing it as a safe space instead of a punishment. Likewise, put the case in the room your pet spends most of their time. Putting treats in the cage or feeding them next to it will keep your ESA interested. You can add blankets and toys to give the container a homely feel when on the move. Similarly, secure the cage to the seat or hold it to prevent the ESA from shifting. While at it, ensure your support creature gets sufficient air to prevent suffocation. You can do this by ditching the layovers during summer and getting a container with better ventilation. Although they come in different sizes, some animals are too big for a carrier. That’s where leashes come in. Apply for ESA Letter Today! BOOK AN APPOINTMENT 3. Leash The crowds in airports and train stations are bound to stress your ESA. That’s why you need a leash to guide their movement and protect other travelers together with their belongings and animals from attack. But your pet isn’t the only cause of danger. For starters, your unrestrained dog might get run over if it wanders away in a bus station. It could also contract diseases after sniffing another animal’s droppings. Chains also make it easier to locate you in case your ESA gets lost. Most leashes include a tag for writing your identification details. Moreover, the restraint also makes your pet harder to steal. From resale and breeding to ransoms and fighting rings, animal theft is motivated by several reasons. Most importantly, the law demands you leash your animal. Games to play with dog How to Keep Your Dog Entertained on a Road Trip? 4. Bedding Repay your animal’s emotional support by keeping them comfortable. Though the airline can organize a special seat on request, your pup will be more settled in familiar bedding. If your pet doesn’t have a bed already, prioritize the quality of materials when shopping. Substandard fabrics are not only uncomfortable but also less durable. The size is also crucial. While a small bed will tire your ESA, a larger one is difficult to move. Even so, some models have straps and clips for portability. Surfaces that absorb moisture will develop an odor from the animal’s urine. This calls for a mild water-repelling spray. Apply for ESA Letter Today! BOOK AN APPOINTMENT At EZCare Clinic, we recognize the role of ESAs in your psychological wellbeing. We specialize in numerous areas, for example, addiction treatment, nutrition, cosmetic services, pain management, mental, and sexual health. You deserve to live free, reach us for an appointment today.