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How an ESA Letter for Your Pet Helps in Managing Anxiety

The number of people with anxiety has significantly increased in the United States, and each person copes with and treats their anxiety differently. If you’re searching for ways to help you with your anxiety, you might want to consider getting an ESA letter for your pet and registering them for emotional support animal certification. How can an ESA letter help with your anxiety? Keep reading to find out.

Official ESA Status for Your Pet

The primary purpose of an ESA letter is to give your pet official ESA status. This lets people know that your animal companion is more than a pet, and having an ESA gives you certain privileges, such as traveling with your ESA without paying pet fares and living with your ESA in any housing without paying pet fees. This allows you to keep the comforting presence of your pet at your side more often, helping you to manage your anxiety more consistently.

Reduce Worry about Pushback

Unfortunately, there’s still a certain stigma about emotional support animals. Many people view them as frivolous and unnecessary and may even think that you’re just claiming your pet is an emotional support animal to avoid additional fees or for the sake of convenience. For people with anxiety, the fear of encountering this pushback (especially when traveling with their ESA) can actually worsen their symptoms of anxiety.

Having an official letter with you can reduce these worries because you know that you have official evidence from a certified medical professional of your ESA’s importance in helping with your medical condition. When you’re able to produce an ESA letter from your doctor and an official certificate of your animal’s status, you won’t receive pushback, and you can continue on your way without additional anxiety about someone trying to separate you and your ESA.

Avoid Separation Anxiety

If you rely on your pet to help calm your feelings of anxiety, being separated from them can be very stressful. When traveling with a pet, you aren’t guaranteed that your pet will be in the cabin with you. They may be placed under the plane, and if they are with you, you likely will have to keep them in a carrier. This separation can cause a lot of stress for those already dealing with anxiety.

When you have an ESA letter, your pet is allowed to stay with you at all times. You no longer have to deal with prolonged feelings of separation anxiety if you and your pet aren’t permitted to be together while traveling; your pet will instead be considered an essential medical treatment for you, and you’ll be allowed to hold them in your lap when traveling.

Reduce Financial Stresses

Money can be a point of worry for anyone, but for those with serious anxiety, financial stress can significantly increase already existing symptoms. A large and sudden expense can cause someone who is managing their anxiety to experience a panic attack, for example. And this is precisely the kind of thing that happens when trying to travel with or live with an animal that is not an ESA. Airlines, apartments, and other entities frequently charge fees if you want to have an animal with you – if they allow it at all – and these expenses can put a lot of strain on you if your finances are already tight.

An ESA letter and certification require one-time fees that you can easily plan for. Then, you no longer have to worry about paying pet fare on airlines or pet fees for housing. This takes some strain off your finances, potentially removing a trigger for your anxiety.

If you want to register your pet as an ESA, contact the National Service Animal Registry. We can provide you with more information, help you with registration, and even help you find an emotional support animal vest for your newly minted ESA companion.

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Debunking Common Myths about ESA and Service Dogs

Service animals are becoming a more common sight in society. Many people benefit from service animals for both practical and therapeutic reasons. For those who suffer from a range of debilitating conditions, service animals can help restore quality of life and provide peace of mind to those who use them. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects the rights of those who use service animals, and as a result of federal regulations, service animals are more accepted now than ever before.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still myths, misconceptions, and inaccuracies present when it comes to service animals, the regulations that govern their usage, and the people who benefit from their service. Whether you have a service dog who performs specific tasks for you or an Emotional Support Dog (ESA dog) whose presence helps to mitigate the effects of psychological or emotional issues, you may encounter some of the following myths as you navigate the world with a service animal. Read on to learn more about some of the most common misconceptions pertaining to service animals and the best ways to debunk them.

Myth 1: All Service Animals Are the Same

While it may be convenient to lump all service animals into one category, they actually fall into three distinct categories that are determined by the type of service they provide to their owners. Service dogs are canines that receive special training to perform tasks that their owners may not be able to complete themselves due to a specific disability. Emotional support animals (ESA) aren’t trained to perform tasks but are instrumental in helping those who suffer from emotional and psychological conditions function in society. While not considered service dogs, ESAs can be legitimized with a letter from a licensed health care provider and ESA registration. Therapy dogs represent yet another class of service animal. They are similar to ESAs in the function they fulfill. However, instead of being assigned to a single owner, they are often used in group settings so that their benefits can be enjoyed by many people rather than a single owner.

Myth 2: Anyone Can Get an ESA

While it may be true that anyone can have a pet that brings emotional support and psychological benefits, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog or other animal qualifies as an ESA. For a pet to truly be formally considered as an ESA, a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychotherapist, psychiatrist, or licensed mental health social worker must determine that an ESA will benefit you. Once the determination is made, the care provider issues a letter to legitimize your ESA. Those letters must be renewed each year to remain valid.

Myth 3: Only Service Dog Owners are Protected from Discrimination

Numerous pieces of legislation protect the rights of those who must use ESAs from being barred from public transportation, housing opportunities, and public facilities. For example, the Air Carriers Access Act protects the rights of ESA owners to take their animals on planes provided they have the proper documentation and meet a few requirements. Not only are air carriers required to allow an emotional support dog on a flight, but there is no charge for the animal.

Housing is likewise protected for those with ESAs by the Fair Housing Act, as landlords can’t discriminate against those with emotional support dogs and can’t charge additional fees for the animals. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of disability and are required to make reasonable accommodations for the disabled. Those clauses extend to those who use ESAs, and employers can’t use emotional support animals as a reason to discriminate against job candidates or employees. However, hotels and restaurants aren’t required to grant access to those with emotional support dogs, though they are required to do so with service dogs.

Myth 4: ESA Dog Rules Vary by State

Service dog and ESA rules aren’t set at the state level but are instead governed by federal law. While there may be state regulations in place that augment or enhance access for those who use service animals and ESAs, the core rights of those who use both categories of animals are protected at the federal level by legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Air Carriers Access Act.

If you think you could benefit from the use of a service animal or ESA, consider these myths when making an informed decision. To learn more about misconceptions surrounding service animals, visit the National Service Animal Registry.

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What’s the Best Type of Leash for Service Dog Training?

While dogs don’t require any task-specific training to register as an ESA, they’re expected to be well-behaved in public. So, if your dog needs a little extra training before they can be treated as an ESA in public areas, then it’s time to get started. But first, you’ll need the right leash. Here are a few tips for choosing the best service dog leash for training your dog.

What Kind of Training Are You Doing?

The exact type of leash you need is going to depend on the exact type of training your dog needs. Do they need to learn to walk without pulling? Do they need to work on staying close to you when you’re out on a walk? Do they need to work on obeying commands when there are distractions around? Different types of leashes will work best for different types of training, so keep this question in mind as you continue reading and as you shop for service dog leashes and collars.

Long Leashes

A long leash can be over 30 feet long and isn’t generally used for everyday walks. Instead, it’s a training tool that allows your pup to work on obeying commands when they’re in an uncontrolled environment.

For example, if your dog needs to work on coming to you when you call, even when there are other dogs around, you might take them to the park and clip on the long lead. You are then able to put distance between yourself and your pet as you work on their obedience, but you can still retain control with the long lead if they decide to try to chase down another dog that’s passing by. This can make it more likely that your dog will obey your commands, even if they’re not restrained or in a contained, controlled setting.

Short Leashes

Short leashes give you increased control over your dog during walks. They’re usually about 4 feet long or shorter, and can be used for everyday walks. Most often, they’re used by people who walk their dogs in larger urban areas, as these leashes keep your dog close to your side and out of the way of any pedestrian or vehicle traffic nearby.

Short leashes are also great for training a service dog to stay close to your side while walking or to obey the “heel” command. Many individuals with service dogs also use short leashes on everyday walks while utilizing a service dog harness.

Slip Leads

Last but not least, slip leads combine both the collar and the leash into one slipover piece. They’re an excellent tool for training a dog not to pull against the leash when on walks. They’re also valuable for training a service dog to focus their attention on you instead of on the things around them. A slip lead is positioned behind the dog’s ears and under the chin and applies gentle correction to redirect your dog’s attention.

The goal of a slip lead isn’t to use it as your go-to walking leash, but to retrain your dog for proper leash behavior. Hopefully, after using the slip lead for a while and focusing some time on retraining your pet, you will no longer need to use the slip lead and can graduate them to a standard leash for everyday walks.

If you’re looking for a service dog leash to provide your dog with some extra training, check out our online store for high-quality leashes and collars.

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Emotional Support Dog Vests: All You Need to Know

If you have ever seen an emotional support animal or service dog, they have likely been wearing a vest that states their status as a working animal. Service dog or emotional support animal vests are not required by law, but they can be beneficial to have. Read on to learn more about emotional support dog and service dog vests, how to measure your dog for one, and what to consider when purchasing one.

Are Vests Required for Emotional Support Dogs or Service Animals?

The law does not require emotional support dogs to wear vests. However, they are very helpful to have, and most experts recommend them. Vests make your dog easily recognizable as an emotional support animal or service animal. This can cut down on a lot of confusion and stress when you are entering public locations or traveling with your dog. Without a clear marker of your dog’s status, you may be met with resistance when trying to make your way through the world with your dog. With an ESA or service dog vest, however, everyone will be able to tell that your dog is an emotional support animal or service dog and should not be treated as an average pet.

Measuring Your Dog

Before you start searching for emotional support dog vests, you will need to measure your dog. This is to ensure that you get the right size vest for your dog. If the vest is too large, your dog will be able to slip right out of it. If it’s too small, it could dig into your dog’s body and hurt them. To measure your pup, you will need a flexible measuring tape. Wrap the measuring tape around the widest part of his or her rib cage. Usually, vests are adjustable and can be worn by dogs in a range of sizes. Use their measurement and the sizing chart provided by the manufacturer to see what size is best for your dog.

Material

Vests for emotional support animals or service dogs are available in a range of different fabrics. Different materials are better suited for different climates. For service dogs in hot and humid areas, a mesh vest is ideal. For other areas, vests made of cotton and other breathable materials are the best choice. Try to avoid synthetic materials as they may be uncomfortable for your dog.

Vest Style

There are four main types of service dog vests for sale. They include:

  • Mesh Vests: This type is ideal for ESAs in warm climates.
  • Lightweight Cotton Vests: This is a standard vest that is suitable for all temperatures. Some of them come with pockets and ID tag holders.
  • Padded Vests: These vests are heavier and better for being outdoors in the cold weather. They will often have handles on them to provide more control.
  • Backpack Vests: If you need to carry a lot of things, consider getting a backpack vest for your dog. This style has pockets designed for this purpose.

Patches

The vest must also have the right patches on it so your dog can easily be identified when out in public. The patch should denote your dog as an emotional support animal or service dog. This way, people will not perceive your dog as a pet but rather a working dog, and they will be less likely to try to pet them. You may also want to put something on the vest that says “Do Not Pet” or “Working Dog.” Some people may not know what an ESA is and may try to pet your dog anyway; with an additional sign, they will know not to distract your dog.

Reach out to us at the National Service Animal Registry to learn more about buying a vest for your service animal.

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Why You Shouldn’t Fake Having a Service Dog

Everyone wants to have an animal companion. After all, there’s a certain romance in the idea of being accompanied by a dog anywhere you go. And it seems that many people today are lured by the ease of just calling Fido a service dog and letting the dream of that constant companion come true. Once a service dog, they can take their beloved pet to the movie theatres, to restaurants and to malls.

Very appealing, right?

Perhaps on the surface. But there’s a reason real service dogs exist and it’s not for the luxury of having pet companion everywhere. By faking a service dog, you create unfortunate—albeit unseen, in many cases—consequences for both those who actually have service dogs, due to a need, and for businesses who try to comply.

Think about it:

Would you pretend to be handicapped to get the best parking? Would you pretend to be a veteran to get discounts? Pretending to have a service dog is no less morally dubious, and yet it seems people are ready to excuse themselves in this particular instance—perhaps because it has become so commonplace that the ethics are easier to ignore. Or perhaps a sense of entitlement develops where pets are concerned.

Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand that faking a service dog has a negative impact on the community.

What is a service animal?

Service animals are dogs (and in some cases, miniature horses) trained to perform major life tasks to assist people with physical or severe psychiatric impairments or disabilities.

Note that they have special training—not just to help the person whom they work for in essential tasks, but to behave in a certain way in public in order to be unobtrusive. For example: no barking, no begging, and most definitely no growling or other form of aggression towards others. They also know to tuck themselves out of the way under a table or between their human’s legs to create little to know disturbance to others. These are working animals.

Where can service dogs go?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), state and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public must in general allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is allowed to go.

This of course is the appeal of pretending to have service dog—they are allowed nearly everywhere, so long as they don’t create a potential hazard (such as in an operating room). However, you should remember that you’re not just pretending that your dog is a service dog. You’re pretending that you are a person in need of a service dog.

Who needs a service dog?

For a person to legally qualify to have a service dog, he/she must have a physical impairment (or severe psychiatric impairment) that substantially limits his/her ability to perform at least one major life activity without assistance. There are no limitations with respect to the kinds of impairments and disabilities this applies to.

So, in other words, if you pretend your dog is a service dog, you are also pretending that you have a physical or psychiatric impairment.

How faking a service dog undermines the people who really need them

Every time an untrained dog passing as a service makes a mistake in public—such as jumping up on people, growling, etc.—it creates a bad impression of service dogs. This might not seem terribly consequential if you’re only faking your service dog and don’t really have a need. But for those who really are dependent on their service dog, the bad rap they are getting from all the fake “service dogs” creates extra stress.

For example, if a restaurant had a bad experience with a phony service dog in the past, they may be less than welcoming to an individual with a well-trained, professional service dog. It can be incredibly frustrating for those with real service dogs to have to explain again and again that their service dog is actually trained to provide assistance in every day life and will not cause disruption.

Even more horrifying are the cases in which fake service dogs have attacked and wounded—or in some cases even killed—real, highly trained service dogs, something that is horrible for many reasons, not least of which is that the impaired person is now without their necessary support. Faking a service dog puts both the reputation and the lives of real service dogs in jeopardy.

Faking a service dog can also stress out the greater community.

Why faking a service dog hurts the community

A person with a service dog is not required by law to carry documentation. Furthermore, business owners can only ask two questions of anyone who has a service dog: “Is it a service animal?” and “What is it trained to do?”

Any other question, such as inquiries into the particulars of an individual’s disability, for example, is strictly prohibited.

And herein lies the apparent ease of faking a service dog: Because you are not required to carry documentation and business owners don’t want to risk a lawsuit by asking too many questions, they often let the dog enter, even if the veracity of the dog’s status seems questionable.

The problem is that faking a service dog not only undermines people with real disabilities, it also creates a tough situation for businesses. For example, imagine a restaurant that has to deal with people faking service dogs that are untrained for this sort of social setting. These dogs might bark, whimper, whine, beg, or even relieve themselves in that space, annoying other customers and even driving them away, thus putting business owners in an unfair bind.

This is part of the reason that a widespread flagrance of the law has now led to the laws being more strictly enforced.

New enforcements on service dog laws

In the last 3 years, many states across the country have signed legislation to enforce punishment of people falsely claiming a service dog. Punishment in most cases includes a fine and a misdemeanor charge. The hope is that the new laws will discourage such rampant abuse of the service dog title. A real service dog has a serious job to do.

While these laws will hopefully help to mitigate the negative impression fake service dogs give to the world, those with real service dogs may want to consider getting their animals registered to avoid confrontation and hassle.

Why register your service dog?

Registration is not federally mandated or compulsory, but voluntary. While it may seem that registering is unfair, it can really make your daily life easier. Registering your service dog not only legitimizes your dog (making him/her look official) but eliminates nearly all the hassles and confrontation you’ll encounter without it

That’s the reason National Service Animal Registry exists: To make life easier and less problematic for the disabled! Several members of the NSAR staff group are disabled and attest to how much easier it has been to take their animals in public after they were registered and attired appropriately.

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Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed in Restaurants?

Emotional support animals are a great help to their owners; their job is to provide comfort to their owners and make living with a mental health condition easier. These pets are prescribed by a licensed mental health professional and, usually, have been added to an ESA registration list. Thanks to federal laws, people are not allowed to deny you housing or prevent you from flying with an ESA. But can you bring your pet with you to other public places, such as restaurants? Keep reading to learn more.

Are Emotional Service Animals Allowed in Restaurants?

The simple answer is that it depends. Unlike service dogs who are allowed to go anywhere with their owner, ESAs are only allowed to go into stores and restaurants that have pet-friendly policies. Service dogs have been trained to perform a specific task to help those with physical and mental disabilities. They are also protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), whereas emotional support animals are not.

But this doesn’t mean that you can’t bring your ESA with you when you go out to eat. Stores and restaurants set their own policies on whether or not to allow animals into their establishments. Do some research to find a pet-friendly restaurant before you go out. Call ahead and ask about their policy on emotional service animals. Additionally, some states have their own laws and regulations about bringing ESAs to public locations. Check your local laws to see if you are prohibited from bringing a support animal to a restaurant.

Being Considerate in Public Spaces

If you are allowed to bring your ESA into a restaurant, it’s crucial that you are both considerate of the restaurant owners and other guests. It is thoughtful to call in advance to ask about their policies, but also to let them know when you plan to go out to eat. This will let them make any necessary arrangements before you arrive, so both you and the other guests will be comfortable.

Additionally, you should train your pet to behave in public when they are around other people and exciting stimuli-like plates of food. Since ESAs aren’t required to undergo any special training, it’s up to you to teach your pet to be well-behaved. A trained pet has a better chance of being allowed in a restaurant over a badly behaved one. It also helps to visibly identify your dog as an ESA by putting a vest or collar on it and have the proper registration and documentation with you to validate your claim.

Getting the Right Documentation

Though they may not ask for proof outright, it is often helpful to carry your ESA’s documentation with you while in public. With this information, you can further validate your claim that your emotional support animal should be allowed to accompany you into the restaurant. Be sure to have an official letter from your licensed therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist, as well as any registration documents. This will make it easier to gain access to restaurants, stores, hotels, and other public places when you’re with your ESA.

To learn more about emotional support dog certification and how to bring your ESA with you in public, visit the National Service Animal Registry.

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Where to Buy the Best Service Dog Vests Online

If you have a service animal, one decision you must make is whether or not to get a vest for your pet. These vests usually say “ESA” or “service dog” on them to let passersby know that your pet is working and should not be bothered. But do you need a vest for your dog? How do you pick out the right service pet vest? Where can you buy one of them? Read on below to learn the answers to these questions and everything else you need to know about buying the best service dog vest for your pet.

Do You Need to Purchase a Service Dog Vest?

At the moment, service dogs are not legally required to wear special vests, tags, ID, or any other form of identification. When a dog enters a private building like a store, restaurant, or airport, staff members are only allowed to ask if your pet is a service animal and what tasks they are trained to complete. They are not allowed to question you about your disability, and they cannot prevent you from accessing the property with your service pet.

Many people with service animals choose to purchase vests or other types of identification for them to limit any confusion. When people on the street or on private properties see the clearly marked service dog vest, they become aware that your pet is a working dog. They then know not to bother you or your dog. Having a vest also cuts down on a lot of questioning and conflict that could otherwise arise when going about your business with a service animal.

On the other hand, many people who rely on service animals choose not to identify their dog as a service animal because they do not want to be labeled as “disabled.” This label could potentially open them up to discrimination. Ultimately, however, the choice is yours; it is all about what makes you the most comfortable when you are walking around with your dog.

What to Consider When Choosing a Vest

There are a few crucial things to consider when looking for a vest for your dog. First, measure your dog’s waist and neck to determine what size vest you should purchase. Then, consider the style and functionality of the vest. You want something that will be comfortable for your pup and easy to put on when you go out together. The vest should also make it clear that your dog is a service animal by prominently featuring the acronym “ESA” or a synonym of it. Lastly, consider the extra features you are looking for like added pockets, padded straps, and waterproofing.

Where to Buy a Service Dog Vest

Now that you know what to look for, you can begin shopping for a vest. But where should you start? Nowadays, the best place to shop for anything is online. Before selecting a store, be sure to read reviews from past customers to ensure you are buying a high-quality product from a reputable seller. If you are looking for a vest for your service dog, contact us at the National Service Animal Registry!

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Hypoallergenic Cats for People with Allergies

We all love kitty kitties! Ok, well, maybe not all of us. But for those of us who have a cat that (and for those of us who have one as an emotional support animal), it can be torture to have allergic reactions to the very creatures we adore! Some cat-allergy folks are disciplined enough to Stay Away from the sneezy, itchy, red eye inducing felines. Others simply suffer through the physical discomforts induced in order to snuggle the purring sweet ones, only to regret it later when they are feeling stuffy, itchy and miserable.

If you have a cat as an emotional support animal and have cat allergies, you are in a predicament. But did you know there are hypoallergenic cat breeds? These mystical cats may just be the answer to your dreams. While it’s true that no cat is 100% allergen free, many people have found relief with certain breeds due to a difference in their saliva as compared with most breeds. We’ll get into the specifics, but first, it’s important to understand what causes allergies and why cats in particular cause such an exaggerated reaction in so many people.

What Causes Allergies?

Allergies, in general, are caused by an overly responsive immune system that reacts to harmless proteins in the environment, as though they are dangerous invaders. The immune system responds to this perceived threat by releasing ample amounts of histamine, which causes the uncomfortable symptoms such as itching, sneezing and hives. Among the many potential allergens, some common ones include plant pollens, molds and animal dander.

When it comes to cats, people are often surprised to learn that they are not actually allergic to the fur, but to a protein found in the cat’s saliva. In fact, over 60 % of people who are allergic to cats are specifically allergic to this protein which is called Felis domesticus 1 (Fel d 1). When your emotional support animal fondly bathes her entire fur coat with her rough little tongue, she is also thoroughly dowsing herself with saliva—and you know what that means. This allergy-inducing protein is now coating kitty’s coat from top to bottom, leaving you vulnerable to unpleasant reactions when you come in contact with the fur.

In addition to the saliva, Fel d 1 is found in the feline sebaceous glands (a waxy substance that keeps their skin oily and somewhat waterproof), the lacrimal glands (tear ducts) and the perianul glands (around the anus). Other proteins that have triggered some degree of allergic response in people include Fel d 2, 3 and 4.

Hypoallergenic Cat Breeds

Now that we understand a bit of what causes cat allergies to be so severe, we can better understand why there are certain breeds that will not have such a bothersome effect. For example, an emotional support animal cat that sheds less than others will spread less of their protein coated hair all over your house leading you to experience fewer miserable allergic reactions.

However, wouldn’t the best sort of emotional support animal cat be one who doesn’t produce the allergy-triggering protein to begin with? There are a few breeds who actually have less Fel d 1 in their systems and people have reported having far less negative reactions to these particular cats.

It’s important to note that no cat breed is 100% hypoallergenic, since all cats, like all animals, produce dander. Dander is a common allergen and if you are among those who are allergic to the dander as opposed to the Fel d 1 protein, a hypoallergenic cat may not solve your predicament. You can get tested to find out your specific allergy, or experiment to see which cats your react to.

Let’s examine a few specific cat breeds who produce less than average Fel d 1 protein and several cat breeds who shed less than others.

Siberian: As their name suggests, the Siberian cat come from the Siberia in Russia. Also known as the Siberian forest cat, if you live in a cold weather place, this might just be the perfect emotional support animal for you. They are hardy and strong, weighing between 15 and 27 pounds. They have luxurious, long, thick, triple haired coats with waterproof hair.

This breed is the well known to have far smaller levels of Fel d 1 than other cat breeds, though they still have some mind you. The exact levels of the protein can be different from one cat to the next, but in general, if you are looking for a Fel d 1 free cat, this is the closest you’re going to get.

Their hypoallergenic tendencies are not the only attractive thing about inviting a Siberian cat into your home. A very playful breed, Siberians are great with children and other animals and are even said to enjoy playing in water! They are also quite intelligent, are natural mousers and tend to be quiet voiced (unlike the talkative Siamese).

Siamese: The Siamese cat comes from Thailand (formerly Siam) and they are distinct because of their slanted blue eyes, big ears, a light colored body with a dark face and long skinny legs. Like the Siberian cat, Siamese have less Fel d 1 in their systems, so they may be good emotional support animals for the allergic cat lover.

The Siamese cat appears frequently in myth and lore as this ancient breed had an esteemed place by the side of Siam’s royalty, even taking up residence in temples where they were catered to as kings and queens.

Siamese cats are known for being quite affectionate, playful and talkative. They do not like to spend a lot of time alone, preferring to have their human companion by their side. Their sociability makes them less than ideal for someone who is gone a lot as they can become destructive if left lonely too often.

Balinese: Balinese cats are a result of human breeders crossing the Siamese with other cats to produce a long-haired version—thus, unlike our previous two examples, their name may be misleading, as they are not actually from Bali! These cats are similar to Siamese, their parent breed, with the main difference being their longer medium length coat.

Since they are descendants of the Siamese breed, it is perhaps not surprising that the Balinese also tend to have less Fel d 1 protein. In addition, their single layer coat of hair means they shed less, making them extra appealing to those with allergies.

The Balinese personality is also similar to their parent breed, as they are also marked by being very playful, talkative and companionable, though they are bit more independent than the Siamese. They also tend to get along with other people and animals. These cats are an excellent choice as an emotional support animal.

Cornish Rex: While they don’t produce less Fel d 1 than other breeds, Rex’s do shed much less than other cats. Rex’s in general lack guard hair and the remaining hair is curly, laying close to the body. (You can also check out the Devon Rex or the Selkirk Rex who also shed less). Because of their unique fur, people with cat hair allergies often do well with the Rex breeds.

Cornish Rex is a very unusual looking cat with huge ears, a lanky body, and “rippling” fur. They have even been said to look somewhat alien. These cats are very energetic and love to be the center of attention. Another great choice as an emotional support animal.

Burmese: The Burmese cat comes from Burma, where it was, at one point, worshipped in temples. With large gold eyes, they were known as copper cats. The variety found in the US is mainly brown while more color variants exist in other parts of the world.

These pretty kitties are known to have less Fel D 1 than other cats (perhaps due to the fact that they were interbred with Siamese when they first made their journey to the US) and they also shed less than other cats.

These excellent emotional support animal prospects are extremely social and are known to follow their owner from room to room. They do quite well with children and love to sit your lap. They are quite expressive and will talk to you with their charmingly scratchy meow.

Russian Blue: Russian Blues are another low-shedding breed with stunning silver tipped hair. The Russian Blues have a plush double layer of fur that sticks out at a 45 degree angle, so that if you draw patterns in their hair, it will actually stick. Their coats are said to be like that of a seal’s and they were likely even hunted for their pelts at one time. Like the Siberian cat, the Russian Blues come from Russia.

An amazing cat as an emotional support animal, the Russian Blue breed is known for its emotional intelligence. They can actually look sad when ignored and have been known to sense sadness in people which they respond to with touch and by acting silly. On the flip side, they are easily startled and are uncomfortable with change. Preferring their routine to remain consistent, changing location is difficult for them, meaning they probably won’t make for the ideal travel cat.

These kitties are independent and will do fine if left alone, though they also like human company and are quite playful. In fact they even like to play catch. Though they’ll be friendly with the whole family, they often choose to partner with one human in particular ? an excellent trait in an emotional support animal.

Sphynx Cat: These famous, “hairless” cat breeds include the Peterbald and Donskoy. While not actually hairless, they have a fine down which can barely be felt or seen. Because of the lack of hair to absorb the Fel d 1 containing oils produced by their sebaceous glands, their oily skin can actually be even more of an allergen than fur is for some people. On the other hand, some people with allergies do quite well with the Sphynx cat as an emotional support animal, probably because they are actually allergic to cat hair. Besides being hairless, these cats have many wrinkles and a cute pot belly. Their faces are surprisingly sphynx-like (thus the name). Despite their regal appearance, these cats are quite acrobatic, loving to be the center of attention. A very mischievous extrovert, these cats will definitely keep you entertained. They love humans and get along well with other animals too.

A Few Other Tips

In addition to the above breeds, when considering a hypoallergenic cat as an emotional support animal, there are few other tips. For instance, male cats tend to have more Fel d 1 than females cats, so you may be better off getting a female cat. In the same vein, an intact male has more Fel d 1 than a neutered male, so if you do get a male, it is a good idea to get him fixed. Also, for some reason dark haired cats tend to have more Fel d 1 than light haired cats, so you can keep this in mind too while picking out an emotional support animal.

If you already have a cat as an emotional support animal, or still experience allergic symptoms after getting a hypoallergenic breed, there are some good rules of thumb to follow at home in an effort to minimize uncomfortable reactions.

Be sure to vacuum frequently and clean surfaces, in order to minimize the buildup of hair and dander. Also, brush your cat frequently—at least once a week—to prevent unnecessary amounts of hair in your home. You could also try putting homeopathic drops in the cat’s water which are intended to reduce the Fel d 1 effect.

In addition, if possible in your home, it helps to have outdoor cats when it comes to allergies, for a few reasons. For one thing, a cat who goes outside will do a good amount of its shedding and dander dropping out in the open, leaving your space relatively free of these allergens. In addition, cat litter boxes often contain the greatest amount of Fel d 1 since so much is found in the anal gland of the cat. This means that if you do away with a kitty litter box in favor of having the cat go to the bathroom outside, you are automatically minimizing a source of allergies. (Plus you won’t need to deal with changing the litter!)

And of course, you can always turn to antihistamines, decongestants or even steroids for extreme allergic attacks.

Conclusion

If you love cats and have or are considering one as an emotional support animal but have an allergy that frustrates your ability to enjoy time with sweet felines, consider getting yourself tested for allergies. Once you know your specific allergy, you can figure out which kitty breed you feel best around. Also, remember that every cat is different, and while spending time with one kitty may wind up giving you a horrendous stuffy head and itchy eyes, you may feel just dandy around another cat.

To make your cat an emotional support animal, click here.

Emotional Support Animal News

People like flying with their emotional support animal because having them can significantly reduce anxiety during a stressful travel and flying experience. Although many animal species qualify as emotional support animals, if you want to fly with an emotional support animal, you’re better off with a cat or dog.

In August 2019 the Department of Transportation ruled that service animals could include dogs and miniature horses, while emotional support animals would be allowed at the discretion of the airline. Nearly all airlines limit emotional support animals to cats and dogs only.

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Lyft’s Service Dog Policy

There are many occasions when we need to travel by car with our Service Dogs. If we don’t drive ourselves or are without a car temporarily, we may need to use a taxi service.

The taxi industry has changed considerably in recent years with the rise of companies such as Lyft and Uber changing the way we call and pay for cabs. It’s certainly much easier than it used to be to take a taxi, it’s also more common and much cheaper.

The aim of this article is to provide you with all the information you need about the Lyft’s Service Dog Policy so you know exactly what the rules are and you can confidently book a ride for you and your Service Dog with Lyft. We will also provide details about what to do if you have a bad experience as well as some general guidance about traveling in a car with your Service Dog.

Are Service Dogs always allowed in Lyft cars?

Lyft is very supportive of people with Service Dogs. They believe everyone has the right to a safe ride and encourage their drivers to make everyone’s experience with the company a positive one.

No Lyft driver has the right to refuse you a ride because you have your Service Dog with you. Both the law and Lyft’s Service Dog Policy states that they must always say yes and take you and your Service Dog wherever you need to go.

There are no exceptions to this rule. Lyft drivers are not allowed to refuse you entry to their car with your Service Dog because they have an allergy to dogs, religious or cultural objections to animals, or even an allergy or phobia.

Do I need to carry proof that my dog is a service dog?

No, you are not required to have any sort of paperwork with you to prove your animal is a Service Dog. Your dog does not need an identification tag. The driver is not entitled to ask for any proof. If you say your animal is a Service Dog, that should be enough for the driver and he should take you and your Service Dog.

According to Lyft’s Service Animal Policy, drivers are allowed to ask you two questions:

Is the animal required because of a disability?
What work or task has he been trained to perform?

Even if a driver suspects your dog isn’t a registered Service Dog, (or tries to use this as an excuse not to take you) he is not allowed to refuse you a ride for this reason.

If any driver suspects someone is abusing the system by pretending falsely that their animal is a Service Dog, the driver would still have to take the passenger and their dog to wherever they wanted to go, but he would be at liberty to report them afterward.

What happens if a driver refuses to take me because I have a Service Dog?

If a driver refuses to allow you to use the Lyft service because you are accompanied by a Service Dog, this would be considered to be discrimination. There would be an investigation, and if it is proved that the driver refused to take you because you had a Service Dog with you, he would not be allowed to work for Lyft again. This “deactivation” would be permanent.

If you believe there has been a violation of Lyft’s Service Dog Policy, you are invited to call 1-844-250-3174 or contact support. This might include being refused a ride or charged fees because you had a Service Dog with you.

Once you submit a complaint, Lyft will investigate and get back to you within two weeks to let you know what has happened as a result of your complaint. They will tell you about any actions that have been taken, including whether the driver has been removed from the Lyft platform.

If there isn’t enough evidence to determine whether discrimination took place, a note will be made on the driver’s record about your complaint. If a similar complaint is made about the driver in future, your case will also be taken into consideration and it is likely that the driver will not be permitted to work for Lyft again.

If the investigation concludes that discrimination did not take place, no further action will be taken against the driver, but Lyft will let you know.

For full details about how to submit a complaint if you feel you were discriminated against by a Lyft driver by being refused a ride with your Service Dog or mistreated in some other way, consult the User Guide for Riders with Service Animals.

Are all Lyft Drivers knowledgable about Service Dogs?

Lyft Drivers should all be aware what a Service Dog is, and that you have the right to bring them along with you on the ride. They are informed about the sort of training Service Dogs receive and the sort of tasks they often perform.

Lyft has produced written information called the Lyft Service Animal Pamphlet which is available from their customer service department. If you are a regular user of the Lyft service it would be useful to get a copy. It very clearly states that it is Lyft’s policy that all drivers must allow Service Dogs in their cars.

Should I inform the driver in advance that I have a Service Dog with me?

It is not a legal requirement or Lyft policy that you have to let the driver know you have a Service Dog with you when you make a booking. However, you may choose to let your driver know out of courtesy.

Will I be charged any extra fees because I travel with my Service Dog?

No, you will not be charged any extra fees if you take a Service Dog with you in a Lyft car.

For instance, you will not be charged a cancelation fee if the driver cancels because you have a Service Dog (although this shouldn’t happen, if it does call 1-844-250-3174).

You cannot be charged a cleaning fee for your dog being in the car unless he urinates, vomits or defecates and the driver is able to provide photographic evidence.

I’m a Lyft driver, can I take my Service Dog in the car?

Yes, if you are a Lyft driver and have a registered Service Dog you can take them in the car with you, even when you have passengers.

It’s possible some passengers might not want to get in a car with a dog because of allergies, fear or personal preference. It’s also possible that you might not have room to take their whole party if there is a Service Dog in the car.

If that is the case you must cancel the passenger’s trip and allow them to order another car. Lyft drivers are advised to call passengers to tell them there will be a Service Dog in the car and give them the option to cancel their ride before they are picked up.

Lyft drivers are not allowed to have their own animals in the car unless they are registered Service Dogs.

Are other non-service animals allowed in Lyft cars?

While drivers are not allowed to refuse Service Dogs a ride, they can use their discretion for animals that are not registered as a Service Animal. Some drivers might not mind, others might be less keen.

If you have an animal who is not a registered Service Dog it is advisable to call the driver to check first if he will allow him to travel. If he refuses and cancels your trip, you should not be charged. If you are, contact support who will be able to refund you.

General advice about traveling in cars with dogs

Your Service Dog has probably experienced traveling by car as part of his training, but if it’s been a while or you feel a bit nervous about taking him in an unfamiliar car, read these tips about car travel for dogs to help you feel more prepared.

1. Build up to big trips

If you know you are going on a long car journey with your Service Dog, get him used to short trips first. It’s a good idea to frequently take him on a short trip so he gets confident in a car environment. If you suddenly have an emergency and need to take him in a car, you don’t want it to be a shock for him.

2. Don’t give him a big meal for the road

Dogs, like people, can get sick in cars. Perhaps more so, because it can be harder for them to balance. Avoid giving him his main meal just before you travel. Either give him a light meal or wait until you get home.

If you are going on a long journey and your Service Dog has a history of getting car sick, talk to your vet. He might be able to give you some suggestions or medication to stop him from vomiting.

3. Take him for a walk first

However well behaved your Service Dog is, traveling by car isn’t much fun for him. He might find it stressful to be in an unfamiliar environment and he might not enjoy being confined.

Make sure you take him for a good walk before his trip, to allow him to release some energy and relieve himself before he gets in the car.

4. Don’t let him hang his head out of the window

As cute as his ears look flapping in the breeze, it’s very dangerous to drive with your dog’s head out of the window as he could get injured. It’s a good idea to invest in a special harness that clips to the seatbelt in the back of the car to keep him steady.

5. Be prepared

Just in case of accidents, bring along a plastic bag or two and some wet wipes. You might also want to bring along some water and a small bowl so you can give him a drink. If you are going on a longer journey bring along something for him to sit on to protect the car from hair and accidents.

6. Never leave your animal in a parked car

You’re not likely to leave your Service Dog in a taxi unaccompanied, but just in case the situation arises, always remember how quickly cars can get dangerously hot. Never leave an animal in a parked car because they can become dehydrated very quickly.

7. Make sure your dog can be identified

Losing your Service Dog would be devastating, especially if you are traveling far from home and he is in an unfamiliar environment. Make sure he wears an identity tag and is microchipped.

Final words…

There are times when we need to travel in a car with our Service Dogs and it’s reassuring to know that Lyft, as a company, is supportive of people with Service Dogs.

If you plan to book a ride with Lyft, consider informing your driver in advance that you have a Service Dog with you out of courtesy, but remember this is not a legal requirement.

Remember also, there are no exceptions to the rule that a Lyft driver must not refuse to take you and your Service Dog even if he has a fear of dogs, an allergy, or objections on religious or cultural grounds. You are not liable for any extra fees because you travel with your Service Dog either, unless he defecates, vomits or urinates in the car.

If you believe you have been discriminated against call Lyft on 1-844-250-3174 or contact support.

We hope this article has given you all the information you need to ride confidently with Lyft with your Service Dog and the peace of mind to know that you can travel easily with your Service Dog wherever you need to go.

Happy traveling!

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How to Ask Your Doctor for an Emotional Support Animal Letter

Any animal can be registered as an ESA, regardless of their species and without any specialized training. Having an ESA enables you to bring your animal with you when traveling and allows you to have your ESA live with you even in pet-free housing. While you don’t legally need to supply a doctor’s letter to have these rights, having this document can make traveling and getting housing restrictions waived much easier for you. Here’s what you need to know about getting an emotional dog support letter from your doctor.

Discuss Your Mental Health

First and foremost, you and your doctor should have an in-depth discussion regarding your mental health, if you haven’t already done so. In order to legally register a dog for emotional support animal status, you must have a mental or emotional condition that improves with the presence of an ESA. Most often, people utilize ESAs to help with anxiety and depression, but they can also be used to aid those with PTSD and ADD, among other conditions.

If you have not yet received an official diagnosis for your mental or emotional health issues, then that is the first step in registering your pet as an ESA. Discuss your symptoms and your troubles with your doctor. Not only does this allow you to qualify for a legally recognized ESA, but it can also help you to get other essential help in treating your condition.

Ask about an ESA

Assuming your doctor knows about your mental or emotional health struggles and assuming you have worked together to establish an agreed-upon treatment plan, the next step would be to ask your doctor about their experience with emotional support animals. Ask them if they have patients who have benefited from an ESA and what kinds of improvements those patients have seen. Then, ask if they think your condition might be improved through the use of an emotional support animal.

If you already have a pet that you would like to have registered as an ESA, talk to your doctor about how your pet has helped to relieve your symptoms or improve your condition. Your doctor will likely ask several questions regarding your pet and its impact on your condition. Don’t be alarmed by this; many people will try to get an ESA letter for their pet simply to avoid housing fees and travel costs, so your doctor is just trying to verify that you have an actual need for an ESA.

Request the Letter

If your doctor or other licensed mental health professional agrees that you could benefit from an ESA or that your current pet qualifies as an ESA, receiving a letter stating as much is a quick and simple process. You should expect there to be a cost for this letter, just as there would be a cost for any other prescription or treatment plan.

The letter must state that your mental health condition has been verified, you’re receiving treatment, and a current patient of the doctor writing the letter. It should also state that your mental condition impedes your ability to participate in at least one daily activity, and an ESA is a part of your current treatment plan to cope with your symptoms.

With this letter, exercising your right to travel with your ESA and have them live with you without paying pet housing fees should be much easier. Register your ESA using our website to receive a certificate stating their status in a matter of minutes.