How can I make my dog a legal support animal? Should I get one?

A good candidate for an emotional support animal (ESA) is someone who has been diagnosed with a mental or emotional disability, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or bipolar disorder, and whose healthcare professional believes that the presence of an animal would provide emotional support and improve the individual’s symptoms.

The presence of an animal can have a calming effect on the individual and can help them to cope with the symptoms of their condition. Additionally, it can provide a sense of comfort, security, and companionship, which can be especially beneficial for people who live alone or who have a hard time leaving their home because of their condition.

It’s important to note that emotional support animals are different from service animals, which are specially trained to perform specific tasks to help individuals with disabilities. The main purpose of emotional support animals is to provide emotional support and companionship, rather than performing specific tasks or functions.

It is important to get a proper evaluation and diagnosis from a licensed healthcare professional, such as a licensed therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. They would be the one to provide a letter or certification stating the necessity of the emotional support animal for your disability.

It’s important to keep in mind that the laws regarding emotional support animals can vary by state and country, and not all locations recognize emotional support animals the same way. It’s important to research and understand the laws that apply to you and to be prepared to provide documentation of your disability and the need for an emotional support animal.

There are a few steps you can take to make your dog a legal support animal:

  1. Get a letter from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) stating that you have a disability and that your dog provides emotional support that is beneficial to your well-being. The letter should state the specific ways in which your dog helps you with your disability.
  2. Make sure your dog is well-trained, socialized, and well-behaved. Many landlords, airlines and other venues require that support animals be able to behave properly in public.
  3. Once you have the letter from the LMHP, it is best to register the dog with an organization that specializes in certifying emotional support animals. This can provide you with a certificate and an identification card for your dog, which you can use to prove to landlords and other venues that your dog is a legal support animal.
  4. Be aware that, laws and regulations regarding support animal vary from state to state and even country to country, and not all places legally recognize emotional support animal, so it is advisable to research the laws that apply to where you live, travel or plan to reside.
  5. Note that, Only a trained service dog is legally considered a service animal and is granted more rights and access under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Fair Housing Act (FHA). whereas emotional support animal (ESA) or therapy animal is not considered service animal under federal law, but they may be protected under state and/or local laws.
  6. Be prepared to have documentation of your disability and proof that your dog is a legitimate support animal, such as the letter from the LMHP and registration certificate, on hand when seeking accommodations for your support animal.
  7. Keep in mind that, Misrepresenting a pet as a support animal is illegal, and can result in legal penalties.


There is no one specific breed of dog that is better suited to be an emotional support animal (ESA) than others. Any breed of dog can be a good candidate, as long as they are well-behaved, socialized, and trained.

However, some breeds are known for their calm and gentle temperament, good nature and trainability, which makes them good candidates for emotional support. Here are a few examples of breeds that may be good candidates for emotional support animals:

-Golden Retriever: They are known for their friendly and laid-back personality, which makes them a great companion and emotional support animal.

-Labrador Retriever: This breed is known for its friendly, outgoing, and patient nature, which can help to provide emotional support to someone in need.

-Pug: These dogs are known for their playful, affectionate and adaptable nature, which makes them great companions for people with disabilities.

-Cavalier King Charles Spaniel: They are well-known for their sweet and gentle nature which can be a great companion for someone in need.

-Shetland Sheepdog: They are known for their loyal and affectionate nature and trainability, which makes them a great candidate for an emotional support animal.

-Poodle: They are known for their intelligence, trainability, and adaptability which makes them good companions for people with disabilities.

It’s important to note that while these breeds have a reputation of being good companions, each individual animal will have their own personality and behavior. Training and socialization is important for any animal to be a good companion, regardless of breed. It’s also important to choose a dog that is a good fit for you, your lifestyle and your ability to care for it.

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