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Emotional Support Animals

What is an emotional support animal?

An emotional support animal is an animal (usually a dog or a cat) that provides assistance in the form of comfort or affection to individuals with emotional or psychological conditions.

How are emotional support animals protected?

Little dog in carrier going on airplane
Emotional support animals are protected under federal laws in housing situations with no-pet policies (such as apartment buildings) and during air travel. Other types of establishments, such as malls and restaurants, may also permit you to bring your emotional support animal with you at their discretion, or if there are state or local laws in place to provide these additional accommodations. Federal protections are provided to emotional support animals and their handlers through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Do I have to provide documentation for my emotional support animal?

You are required to have a letter of recommendation from a doctor or mental health professional stating that you have a medical condition and that you are under their care for your condition. The letter should also be current (dated within the past year) to show that you are currently still receiving care for your condition. You may be asked to present your letter to your landlord, or to an airline representative when flying with your emotional support animal.

To let others know in public places that you have an emotional support animal serving a medical need and not a pet, you may register your emotional support animal and obtain an identification kit:

View Identification Kits for Emotional Support Animals