Is Emotional Support Dogs Different from Service Animals?

Is Emotional Support Dogs Different from Service Animals

Even though emotional support dogs provide companionship as they help ease stress and depression, there’s an underlying distinction and key difference between ESA and service dogs. A service dog is taught to perform tasks related to a person’s disability. They are needed so that a person can get the most out of life, despite his or her inability. It is because of this vital function for the owner that service animals are protected by law.

The emotional support animals have no corresponding legal protections. Service animals can be allowed in the general public if the dog is in good health. The ESA dog cannot simply go to shopping malls and restaurant sites. And yet, an emotional support dog is extremely important for people with mild and medium forms of psychic disorders. At the same time, psychiatric service dogs are needed by humans with disabling mental illnesses.

How can my dog become an emotional support animal?

woman with her pet dog

The only way for an emotional support animal to be considered an emotional support animal is to request an ESA letter. You must first be diagnosed with a psychic malady. Only a licensed specialist in this field can do this. By assessing your condition, the therapist will be able to understand how much emotional support the animal can bring you.

If your doctor deems it necessary, he will give you an ESA letter. In most cases, this document is sufficient to resolve any conflicting situations related to your dog’s emotional support. However, you can additionally register your ESA and obtain the relevant document. You can learn more about the Emotional Support Animal Registration Process on MyServiceAnimal registrar website.

When do you have to see a licensed mental health professional?

If you experience any negative changes in your mental or emotional state, we recommend that you contact mental health professionals or a licensed therapist. Even sleep disorders can be a symptom of a psychical malady. So the sooner you seek and receive professional help, the faster and more productive your recovery will be.

Mild forms of depression, anxiety, and social problems can be overcome fairly quickly if you follow all the recommendations of a specialist, as well as with the help of an emotional support animal.

The influence of animals on the human nervous system

beautiful woman with cat

In fact, pet therapy is a fairly common phenomenon for quite some time. One of the most popular types of animal-assisted therapy is swimming with dolphins. But even less exotic animals can have a positive effect on the human nervous system. Animals help to distract, relax, and change the usual situation.

Research shows that anything that brings us positive emotions and distractions significantly speeds up the treatment of almost any mental illness. One of the most affordable therapies is pets. Cats and dogs experience changes in the mood of their owners and try to be around when needed. In addition, scientists claim that even contemplation of animals helps to produce hormones of happiness and improve well-being.

The most common cases when emotional support animals are used

Almost any mild to moderate mental illness can be treated with emotional support animals. Obviously, the animal is not the only measure in the treatment of the disorder and you will have to take the prescribed medications and visit the therapist regularly. However, studies show that ESA dogs can significantly speed up the healing process.

An emotional support animal can even help a person cope with such a difficult frustration as a post-traumatic stress disorder. Given a large number of symptoms and concomitant disorders, PTSD is considered one of the most difficult cases in psychiatry. ESAs can significantly alleviate symptoms, in addition to helping animals survive attacks, flashbacks, fears, certain phobias, and nightmares.

Training courses for emotional support animals

ESA dogs don’t need to be specially trained as therapy animals or service dogs. Their only task is to support the handler and to help a human survive the difficult moments of his life. Often, a strong emotional bond is built between the animal and its owner, thanks to which the ESA experiences the slightest changes in the mood and well-being of the man. This happens naturally and does not require special training.

If you already have a pet and want to qualify it as an emotional support animal, you also do not have to undergo special training. The main factor that affects the ability to register an animal as an ESA is the ability of your pet to bring emotional comfort and improve your psychological state – to calm down and relieve stress and tension.

What are the benefits of ESA status for animals?

ESA does not have the same rights as a service dog. This is because the ADA does not recognize emotional support animals as assistance once, as the functions performed by the ESAs are not vital to their owners. Even though an emotional support animal has many benefits for its handler, it is still not as significant, as a guide dog or hearing dog.

The only federal law that still defines certain rights for the ESA is the Fair Housing Act. It allows emotional support dogs to live with their handlers without extra payment, even despite the ban on animals in the building.

But in addition to the federal acts, there are also local laws issued by the local government agencies. Local laws may expand the list of benefits for emotional support animals. However, you should be very careful, because different states may have different laws. Currently, in all areas other than housing, ESAs have the same rights as pets. So, the best way to avoid disputes and misunderstandings is to use the services of pet-friendly institutions.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

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