If you’d like your emotional support animal to accompany you on planes or live with you in otherwise restrictive housing, ESA registration is key. With the appropriate documentation, your rights can be protected. Lacking these essential documents, you’ll have a much more difficult time and could be rejected outright. Emotional support animals can be tremendously helpful, especially if you deal with stress, anxiety, or depression. While ESA and service dogs get a lot of attention and are quite popular, emotional support cats make excellent companions as well. The process is easier than most people think.
Emotional Support Animals
If you have a mental illness and feel that an emotional support animal could be helpful, the first thing you should do is speak with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist. They can discuss the benefits with you, and they should be able to determine if an emotional support cat may be the right choice for you.
Your ESA cat doesn’t have to undergo any specialized or formal training course. This is a common misconception. The primary purpose of an emotional support animal is to give their owner comfort, companionship, and emotional support. An ESA cat could help reduce anxiety, alleviate stress, and could even help you get better sleep. To qualify as an ESA, your cat does have to be well behaved and toilet trained.
The registration process isn’t overly difficult or complicated. A licensed mental health professional, such as your therapist, can provide you with a prescription letter verifying your need for an emotional support animal. You may visit the National Service Animal Registry website to register your animal. After registration, you’ll receive an Animal ID Card. It should have a picture of your cat on it, as well as additional information. This includes information about your legal rights. It’s important that you keep track of these documents, so you have proof of registration. Airlines and landlords are well within their rights to request proof that your ESA cat is a registered service animal.
Legally speaking, an ESA cat has several benefits compared to an unregistered animal. The Fair Housing Act allows emotional support cats to be considered as assistance animals. What does this mean for you? Your ESA cat can’t be discriminated against when it comes to housing. Apartments, condos, and other housing that would otherwise have size restrictions or not allow animals at all can’t prevent you from keeping and living with your ESA cat. Additionally, you shouldn’t have to pay a deposit for your ESA cat.
Thanks to the Air Carrier Access Act, your ESA cat can accompany you in the cabin. As you know, animals often have to fly separately. However, your registered animal should be allowed to stay with you in the cabin instead. Remember that almost all airlines require documentation to be provided before boarding. Be sure to have it ready to hand. The airline will need to verify it beforehand.
As you can see, registering your ESA cat shouldn’t be a big challenge. Yet, there are many great perks that come with registration. If you think you could use the assistance of an emotional support animal, be sure to speak with a mental health professional. Your therapist should be happy to help you determine if an ESA cat would be right for you. Contact National Service Animal Registry at (866) 737-3930 to learn more about emotional support animals and the many ways they could assist you.
The last few years, you may have noticed a rise in social media stories featuring strange animals on planes—Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are full of images of passengers flying with their special emotional support animal (ESA). It is certainly novel to see monkeys, ducks, horses and pigs 35,000 feet above the ground—and awfully cute too, which accounts for the viral speed at which these stories travel. You’ve probably seen a few ESA’s and service dogs at the airport, yourself; many with a special service dog vest.
People flying with all manner of emotional support animal has simply surged in recent years—though it’s still far more common to see an emotional support cat or emotional support dog. On American Airlines alone, the number of emotional support animals on their flights rose by 48% in one year alone from 2016 to 2017. That’s a massive increase. In total they accommodated 155,790 emotional support animals.
It makes sense, since the more these stories go viral and the more people see images of animals flying, the more likely they are to want to fly with their animal too.
Unfortunately (or not, depending on your point of view), those days are over. Airlines are actively seeking to ban passengers from bringing just any emotional support animal aboard planes. They feel that people are taking advantage of the current laws which let an emotional support animal fly for free—a great deal considering the alternative: checking a pet can be rather costly—up to 100 dollars or more each way.
Plus, an emotional support dog or other animal is allowed more freedom on the plane—they can sit on your lap and don’t have to be kept in a cage at your feet, as is required for a checked pet. Of course, that also limits the size of your animal—many an emotional support dog would simply be too big to fit at your feet and would need to be checked below the plane. That is, understandably, not something many people feel comfortable with.
People like flying with their emotional support animal because having their presence can significantly reduce anxiety during a stressful travel and flying experience. But now, if you want to fly with an emotional support animal, you’re better off with an emotional support cat or an emotional support dog.
In August 2019 the Department of Transportation ruled that service animals could include cats, dogs and miniature horses, while emotional support animals would be allowed at the discretion of the airline. And these laws may soon be tightening up even more to include only a trained emotional support dog. (Service animals, as those mentioned above, will still be allowed with proper documentation).
This isn’t entirely new—many individual airlines had already cracked down on what type of animal could be allowed onboard as an emotional support animal. Rodents, for example, are never allowed on board the plane, emotional support animal or not, as was evidenced by the frustrating story of the woman who showed up with an emotional support squirrel and had to be removed from the plane by police officers, or, more tragically, the girl who flushed her emotional support hamster down the toilet after being denied entry with him.
While generally an emotional support dog or emotional support cat is acceptable, in some cases, even the breed of dog permitted as an emotional support dog can determine eligibility. Delta, for example, no longer allows pit bulls, after multiple attendants and passengers were attacked.
Indeed, the Association of Flight Attendants, a flight attendant union with over 50,000 members, has been a strong force in the fight to change the law, as numerous flight attendants have been injured by untrained emotional support dogs. They say that the excessive number of animals allowed on planes threatens “the safety and health of passengers and crews in recent years while this practice skyrocketed.”
Besides animal attacks, an emotional support animal can also put passengers with allergies and asthma at risk. Also, if an animal relieves itself on the plane, an event which is not unheard of, the airplane’s high level of sanitation requirements are at risk—not to mention the extra effort flight attendants must do to clean and sanitize, sometimes delaying the subsequent flight. Furthermore, in an emergency an untrained emotional support animal can pose an impediment to the safety and evacuation of passengers.
Critics of the decision say that airlines oppose animals because they’ve reduced space in cabins so drastically that there is no room for an emotional support animal (and hardly room for passengers!). They voice concern over the people who will no longer be able to fly with their emotional support animal.
So What’s The Current State of Affairs?
While we’re still waiting to hear the final verdict on whether any emotional support animal will be allowed in the main cabin, those with a service animal—different from an emotional support animal in that these animals have been trained to help disabled owners perform certain tasks—will still be able to fly with their helper. An emotional support cat or emotional support dog would still be allowed to travel in cargo areas.
Currently, an emotional support dog or emotional support cat are generally more acceptable than other animals, however it depends on a case by case basis and you’ll need to prove the animal is trained—and won’t attack anyone! Until an official law is passed, every airline is handling the emotional support animal situation a little differently.
For example, the American Airlines website states:
Cats and dogs (trained miniature horse may be permitted as a service animal) are generally acceptable as service and support animals; any other animals must comply with the US Department of Transportation requirements for health and safety including documentation of the animal’s up to date vaccination records and may not cause significant cabin disruption
In the event that your emotional support animal is too big or heavy to safely be accommodated, American Airlines suggests these alternatives:
Buy a ticket for the animal
Rebook on a flight with more open seats
Transport the animal as a checked pet
As the last option indicates, even if the days of flying your emotional support animal for free and in the cabin are over, you will still have the option of checking your emotional support dog, emotional support cat or other animal in through other available, albeit more conventional, means.
So, you’re bringing your sweet, new dog home to the den and you’ve already read up on how to welcome him into the pack with ease and grace in Part 1 of this series. But what if your unique pack includes a member of the feline variety? Introducing your new ESA to an established cat is another thing altogether and can be fraught with tremendous challenges if the two of them aren’t disposed to be friendly with each other. In ancient times, cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.
Ideally, you want your special pack to be tight-knit and well-bonded, for the obvious fact that it’s simply a better way to live. Luckily, there are certain strategies you may employ to help your beloved cat and your new service dog/emotional support dog (or just dog) adjust to each other, leading to a happy family all around.
Can Dogs and Cats Really Be Friends?
Long considered quintessential enemies, cats and dogs are often comically portrayed as each other’s arch nemesis. Perhaps it is this ingrained meme that makes the reality of dog-cat friendships so insanely cute. Indeed, it is not uncommon for these animals to be quite affectionate with each other: nuzzling, playing and sleeping in a cuddle puddle.
It’s wonderful to witness the bond that can develop between a hound and a feline, and a joy to see what pleasure and companionship they bring to their relationship. There can also be an extra benefit: Your emotional support dog/service dog and your Purrs-a-Lot will entertain each other, so you don’t have to be always on duty!
Even if your cat and new dog don’t become the best of friends (you can’t force personality and chemistry, even with animals), they can at least be taught to respect one another and live in a general state of peace. There is nothing more tiresome than having to break up frequent fights or, even worse, being forever on the alert for the safety of your cat.
While it’s true they can be the best of friends, it’s also true that they still need time to get acquainted initially. In the beginning, some tension is inevitable. Naturally territorial, a resident cat will likely feel threatened by the arrival of any new animal, particularly that curious, slobbering oaf of a dog, who is likely insensitive about his invasion of Kitty’s personal space. There is bound to be some hissing and general unpleasantness.
The unpleasantness will, of course, be compounded if there is an actual physical threat to the safety of the cat from the emotional support dog. In some cases, the dog is the one who is threatened!
It is therefore advisable to facilitate an introduction that allows for a minimum of stress and predisposes the animals to recognize the other as family, thus setting the stage for a healthy relationship between the sweet beasts of your heart and home.
Some cats and emotional support dogs/service dogs are more naturally disposed to be friends and need very little in the way of assistance to move through the tense acquaintance phase, becoming quick friends on their own. Others may not reach that place so quickly – if at all. It’s all a matter of personality, age, prior experience, temperament, and inclination. All factors in the relationship equation.
Take prior experience, for example: Has the dog or cat ever been emotionally close to an animal of the other species before, or is this their first opportunity? A cat that is familiar with dogs will likely have an easier time adjusting to this new dog, while a cat with no prior experience will take longer to “break in.”
Age is another factor. An old cat may be cranky and less inclined to become buddies with a young and energetic emotional support dog. The cat may even attack the hound, or at best, ignore it, with an occasional hiss and swipe to put the dog in its place. However, an old cat and an old service dog may match one another’s energy perfectly.
The main thing is to be sensitive to both animals’ personalities and needs. Consider how their energy levels match-a hyper cat and a rowdy dog may have great fun expending energy together, while a shy, quiet cat, may be overwhelmed by a boisterous emotional support dog.
While it’s normal to have tension, along with some growling, hissing, and over-excitement in the beginning, is this something that seems likely to go away in time, and with training? You’ll have to be the judge.
Step by Step:
As always, the key to easing a service dog, emotional support dog, or any animal through a transition is to do it slowly and one step at a time. Here’s a list of the steps to help introduce a new dog to the resident kitty. Use all the steps, or pick and choose, based on the personality of the animals involved, and how you observe them respond to each other.
1. Create Individual Clearly Defined Spaces.
It’s a good idea to begin by making sure both your service dog/emotional support dog and your cat have their own, separate safe zones. If possible, keep the cat’s space, along with all the kitty stuff (kitty litter, toys, food, and water, etc.) remains in its current location, unless the new dog will necessitate a change. Any space changes should be performed before your dog arrives. This enables your cat to get used to things. You can, of course, block off a portion of the house where the dog will initially be restricted to. The important thing is to limit and protect the cat’s private space.
Allowing the dog to sniff and investigate the cat’s space while the cat is in another room or outside (and vice versa) will remove some of the dog’s drive to explore. Let’s face it: The cat’s gonna do what the cat wants to do – when the cat wants to do it!
2. Smell Exchange
If possible, it’s ideal to introduce the animals to one another’s smell, even before bringing your new support dog home. Both cats and dogs have incredible noses with acute senses of smell and if given the chance to become familiar with a particular odor, the less offensive and threatening it will be for the cat, or exciting and stimulating, for the service dog. This, in turn, will create a greater openness to knowing one another upon initial meeting.
You can let them get a whiff of each other by “swapping smells,” or giving each animal a towel or old t-shirt to sleep with and then switching the now odor-drenched textiles so doggie is sleeping with meow-meow’s scent and vice versa.
If it is not possible to introduce smells ahead of the move-in date, no worries. You can implement the same technique once your new dog is in the house, but still segregated in a different room or area than the cat. You can even just swap their bedding.
3. Opposite Side of the Door Feedings
An old trick: feed the kitty and your emotional support dog at the same time, but on opposite sides of a door. They will be able to smell, hear and sense one another, but without the threat or overstimulation of actually seeing one another. Additionally, the food will help them come to associate the smell and sound of the other with something wonderful and delicious!
4. Observe Each Other Through a Gate
Now it’s time to “lift the curtain”, so to speak. Let your dog see the cat through a pet gate. You may want to keep the dog on a leash during this phase, even though they are separated, for training purposes.
Allow them to observe each other, and as they do, observe your emotional support dog. How is he behaving? If he remains obsessively fixated on the cat, lunging, and barking, digging at the barrier and staring at her intently for more than a few days, you may have an aggressive dog on your hands. If so, that require a few other precautions (see below).
Before moving on to the next step, it’s a good idea to see if the emotional support dog and cat are relatively at ease in each other’s presence. They should be able to ignore the other and show relaxed body language.
5. Leashed Face-to-Face
Now that the animals have become pretty familiar with one another and are showing more comfort, remove the gate. Let both animals inhabit the same space, but keep your new dog on a leash, to be safe. Again, stay at this step until both animals seem calm around one another.
6. Grand Finale! Off-leash Hang Time
It’s finally time to let the animals be in a room together with total freedom. They should be adjusted to one another at this point, but you’ll still want to chaperone the first few off-leash meetings or until you feel comfortable. Just use your best judgment and observe body language. You should notice any agitation or aggression.
If the cat is an outdoor cat, it’s a good idea to test the animals together outside as well. Sometimes a different environment, like being out of doors, can alter the behavior of an dog who has become used to the rules inside the house, but isn’t so sure what the rules are in the “wild” where a cat might otherwise be fair game. Better to chaperone out there too, and make sure all is well between the animal kingdoms before letting them run loose together.
Hopefully, your emotional support/service dog will easily habituate to the cat. Some dogs, however, have very strong predatory instincts, and if this is the case with your pooch, you’ll have to do some extra training to facilitate a respectful relationship between your pooch and your kitty.
Strong predator instinct can be recognized by specific body language and behavior: if the dog displays excessive growling, barking, or maintains a fixed stare at the cat, he is treating her more like prey, than as a member of his family. He might repeatedly jump at the cat or be generally obsessed with this other critter.
Specific training techniques to guide an aggressive dog include refocusing their attention. If your dog is fixated on the cat, pull his attention away by saying his name and getting him to look at you. Once he does look at you, offer him a treat. Repeat until the dog learns there is more reward in not being overly obsessed with the cat.
If you are having difficulty finding success, and your emotional support dog is absorbed by your cat in an aggressive way, it may be time to seek professional help.
Occasionally, a dog just is not suited to a cat (or vice versa). If you’ve given it time and patience, but the dog continues to act aggressively to the cat, it may not be a good fit. You’ll need to decide what your options are at that point.
Kittens and Your New Dog
Kittens are especially vulnerable, and even an emotional support dog who has previous cat buddies and is decidedly not a cat chaser, may see a sweet little kitten as a toy. The dog may play too rough and wind up injuring the kitten. If the kitten is a bit older and quite playful, its erratic moves can encourage a dog to play too roughly.
To avoid this sort of trauma, it’s a good idea to chaperone the meetings between these creatures. A kitten will not be territorial and may not even have developed an appropriate fear of dogs. So, in this case, it is really important to protect the little thing.
When you aren’t on patrol but want the animals to be around one another, you can keep the kitten in a big crate, so the emotional support dog can see, but not touch.
Hopefully, by now your cat and dog are well on the way to becoming friends. Just remember to make sure you give both your dog and your cat a lot of love and attention. It can be easy in the excitement of having a new emotional support dog to give less attention to your resident feline. Cats need a lot of reassurance, however, and your cat will benefit to understand he/she still has an important place in your heart. Giving her plenty of attention will help minimize jealousy and ill will toward her new dog friend.
Also, the more the emotional support dog sees you being affectionate with the cat, the more he’ll understand the cat is a special friend – and vice versa. Let them witness the other as family through your behavior.
And, as always, exercise patience. Sometimes, it takes a little time for a new dog and cat to become totally at ease in each other’s’ company, let alone build a familial relationship. Give it time; it will be worth it! Before long, you’ll be enjoying being at the head of a cohesive, multi-species pack!
It’s always important to understand your rights when it comes to your service or emotional support animal (ESA). Understanding the rules and guidelines of living or traveling with your animal can make life a lot easier. However, sometimes these rules and guidelines can become confusing when one entity has its own set of rules, and the federal government has another. This gray area has become apparent when it comes to flying with an ESA or service animal. You may have heard recent news headlines referencing emotional support dogs, and how certain airlines are hoping to put restrictions on specific breeds. If you were confused by these announcements, you’re not alone. Here’s a quick summary to help you understand everything you need to know about the new guidelines for flying with a service or emotional support animal.
Airlines Are Prohibited from Banning Certain Breeds
When Delta Airlines attempted to put a ban on “pit bull-like breeds,” it received pushback from the US Transportation Department. The department puts out guidelines that clearly state that airlines are not allowed to place breed restrictions on service dogs or emotional support dogs. This news comes after an airline crew member was bitten by an emotional support animal and required five stitches. However, the airline did not disclose the breed of the dog that was involved in the incident.
Airlines Are Allowed an Individualized Assessment
Even though airlines cannot simply ban certain animal breeds, they are allowed to review emotional support dogs on a case-by-case basis. For instance, if you’re attempting to buy a ticket to fly with your emotional support animal, any airline can require you to purchase the ticket in person and bring your emotional support dog in for a review. They want to make sure that the animal does not pose a risk to other passengers or airline crew members.
Concerns About Fraudulent ESA’s
Much of this debate stems from concerns that some passengers are abusing the emotional support animal system that the US Transportation Department has in place. They’ve stated that many online ESA companies aren’t following proper protocols when it comes to registering an animal. This has led to many people who are not in need of an ESA to register animals that aren’t fit to fly. Over a million passengers have flown with service animals or emotional support animals over the last year. Unfortunately, there’s been a spike in incidents with untrained animals biting or misbehaving on flights. Because of this, most airlines will require animals to be reviewed individually before entering a flight.
How to Properly Register Your Animal
If you’d like to register your dog or animal to be an ESA, it’s important to go with legitimate registry systems, such as the National Service Animal Registry. We can help you understand how to properly register your animal, how to receive a certified ESA vest for your animal, and what your rights are.
While most people have emotional support dogs, emotional support animals can actually be members of any species. Cats are the second most common type of ESA, and many people with emotional or mental health issues rely on their feline friends for comfort and to minimize the symptoms of their disorder. If you have a cat for an ESA, you might be wondering if you should invest in an ESA vest, as well as wondering where such a vest might be required. Keep reading to learn more.
Not Required by Law
First and foremost, as an ESA owner, it’s important that you’re aware of your rights. It isn’t required by law for your ESA-be it a dog, cat, or any other animal-to wear a vest indicating that they are an emotional support animal. Whether your ESA is in your home or on a plane with you, vests aren’t required for you to claim the benefits of owning an ESA. So, if someone has given you the impression that you’re legally required to get an ESA vest for your cat, please be aware that this isn’t true.
With that being said, having an ESA vest for your cat has many practical benefits. The largest benefit is that it very quickly and clearly indicates that your cat serves a specific purpose and that they’re much more than a pet to you. As mentioned earlier, dogs are the most common type of ESA, as well as almost exclusively fulfilling the role of service animal for those who require such assistance; this means that people are much more likely to accept a dog as an ESA without a visual indicator.
However, cats are less common, and they almost never serve as service animals. Because of this, most people view cats only as pets and don’t realize that cats can even be ESAs. When you put that ESA vest on your cat, you’re making it very clear to everyone around you that your cat isn’t just a pet. This can make things much easier when you’re traveling and may decrease the amount of pushback you experience when claiming your benefits as an ESA owner.
Using an ESA Cat Vest
It’s no secret that most cats don’t much appreciate being dressed up or restrained in any way. So if you’re planning on purchasing an ESA vest for your cat, it’s important that you give them time to adjust to wearing it before you attempt to take them anywhere with it on.
First, a proper fit will make the vest more comfortable for your cat and make it less likely that they’ll manage to slip out of it. This means you need to properly measure your kitty before purchasing a vest for them. You’ll need to measure around the thickest part of your cat’s torso using a measuring tape and measure the circumference of their neck. This should give you enough information to purchase an appropriately sized vest.
You’ll also want to purchase a vest made of a comfortable fabric. A cotton or polyester fabric is usually lightweight and breathable enough that it won’t bother your cat even in hot weather. And, as long as it’s appropriately sized and put on correctly, it won’t rub or irritate them either. Allow your cat to wear their new vest several times and ensure they’re comfortable in it before trying to travel with them wearing it.
If you’re looking for ESA vests for your cat, be sure to check out the different styles the National Service Animal Registry has available online.
Dogs perform a number of jobs in society, including acting as service dogs for many individuals who are deaf, blind, autistic, physically disabled, or otherwise in need of assistance. Dogs are incredibly adept at learning to perform the tasks needed to be a fully certified service animal. But what about emotional support animals? These animals are not required to receive specialized training or to perform specific tasks, so does that mean you can have a different type of ESA animal, like a cat? Or are you limited to only an ESA support dog? Keep reading to find out.
Any Animal Can Be an ESA
The short answer here is yes, a cat can be an emotional support animal. In fact, any animal can be considered an ESA, so long as it provides you with comfort and relief from a mental, physical, or emotional struggle. Many people find their pets to be a comfort in times of difficulty, but for those with persistent anxiety, depression, or even chronic pain, that pet becomes a necessity.
So, if you have a cat that helps to relieve your mental health complications and enables you to live a happier and more fulfilling life, then that cat is qualified to be an emotional support animal.
Not Everyone Is a Dog Person
Not everybody likes dogs. In fact, some people have a deep fear of dogs. This is why it is so important for people to have more than one option when it comes to owning an emotional support animal. Far too many people who genuinely need an ESA will put off getting one because they believe it must be a dog. Once they discover that a cat or other pet can also qualify for ESA registration, they are quick to find a pet that offers them the support that they need.
Benefits of a Support Cat
While any animal can be an ESA, dogs and cats are the two most common options that people choose. In addition to being an excellent option for individuals who may not be entirely comfortable with dogs, having an emotional support cat offers a number of other benefits over their more energetic counterparts.
While dogs are excellent companions, they do require quite a bit more work to care for than cats do. Dogs need to be walked daily, and even lower-energy breeds need regular play and exercise. Cats, on the other hand, are masters at caring for themselves. While they can be loving and playful members of the family, their lower maintenance needs make them a better option for those who simply don’t have the energy to give a dog the care they require.
How Can an ESA Help You?
Emotional support animals can be a great source of relief for many individuals and even be included as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for a number of conditions. ESAs-including dogs, cats, and many other types of animals-help to provide the following benefits to their owners:
Relief from anxiety
Reduced feelings of depression
Coping with PTSD
Helping with ADD
Anxiety and depression are the two most common uses for ESAs, and the animal does not have to be a dog to provide relief for those conditions. The presence of a warm, purring, loving cat can be equally relaxing to those who suffer from anxiety or depression.
Registering an ESA
Registering an ESA is a quick and effortless process. However, it’s important to remember that certifying your animal as an ESA is intended only for those who genuinely suffer from mental or emotional health issues. You can register your cat or another animal online on our website in a matter of minutes. Reach out to us if you have any questions about the registration process.
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.
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.
Those of us who have an emotional support animal know firsthand that our furry friends are our family members. They bring endless joy. Unfortunately, sometimes they don’t smell so good! As owners, almost all of us are aware of dealing with pet odors in the home. Our pup, Dudley, seems to have a chronic case of “Frito paws”. In addition, the large amount of fur that floats off his chunky, small body on a daily basis is shocking. Here are the best methods for conquering your emotional support animal odors in the home. They’ll help your home smell a lot less like a kennel!
Vacuum Up Hair and Dander
For people who have a pet or emotional support animal that sheds, managing the hair is an endless struggle. We know that it is essential to vacuum the floor, but the truth is, the floor is only the beginning. You must vacuum all the animal hair and dander, wherever it may be hiding. This includes the cushions of your sofa, behind furniture, and in all the crevices and cracks where your emotional support animal likes to hang out. Even if your dog or cat does not shed much, you’ll still have pet dander to deal with.
Wash Your Animal’s Bedding
Does your emotional support animal have its own bed? Its own special blanket? If so, it is likely a major source of animal odor in your home. In case you didn’t know, most pet beds are machine washable. So, make it a routine to clean your emotional support animal bedding minimum once a month and make sure to add 1/4 cup of vinegar with the laundry detergent. To dry the bed, tumble dry in the dryer or allow it to drip dry outside.
Clean Your Dog’s Toys
Like bedding, the dog and cat toys that you’ve been collecting are also a breeding ground for offensive odors. Maybe your dog has wonderful breath, but probably not. A generous coat of dog saliva on the toys will help your home smell a lot like his breath! Scattered throughout the home, they spread the fragrance everywhere. In addition to washing your pet’s bedding every month, toss in the toys, too. Of course, you can wash them by hand in the sink. Just remember to use hot water, laundry detergent, and apple cider vinegar to truly get rid of those stinky smells.
Bathe Them Regularly
Not many dogs aor cats like getting a bath but bathing your emotional support animal routinely will help keep those odors down. Set a reminder on your phone or computer. That way, you won’t forget.
Use Baking Soda
In terms of products that effectively tackle odors in your home, baking soda is on top of the list. It’s a fantastic odor neutralizer. Sprinkle baking soda on your pet’s bed or on your couch cushions (check labels and test in a small discreet area first), let it sit for some minutes, and then vacuum it up.
Don’t Forget Vinegar
Vinegar is also a wonderful natural cleaning choice for more serious pet and emotional support animal odors. It’s easy to use vinegar (diluted with water) in a bottle of spray and then spray on floors or carpets. Or you can use with baking soda on cushions for a strong odor-eliminating punch.
Nature’s Miracle Stain & Odor Eliminator
A terrific product that removes stains and urine odors in your home is Nature’s Miracle Advanced Dog Enzymatic Severe Mess Stain & Odor Eliminator. An enzymatic neutralizer like Miracle of Nature is a great way to spot treat an area and fully remove the odor. Even if you have an emotional support animal that is potty trained, it is always a good idea to keep this kind of cleaner on hand, in case there is an accident.
Citrus and Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen and Citrus peroxide are two other effective ingredients for pet or emotional support animal stains odors. The citrus will work as a natural enzymatic cleaner, and the hydrogen peroxide is a great neutralizer and disinfectant.
If you have allergies, a HEPA air filter is another helpful way to minimize allergic reactions to your emotional support animal. This filter is an air-purifying filter that will force air via a fine mesh to trap offensive particles, like pet or emotional support animal dander. You can buy air purifiers with HEPA filters, and there are several vacuum cleaners that come with HEPA filters.
Be Smart About the Litter Box
Cat litter is a biggie, so here’re some tips where the box is concerned:
Location, location, location, and ensure you place the litter box in the most removed and contained spot in the home, whether that be the basement, bathroom, or even a closet.
Litter box selection is key make sure that you select a small box that is big enough that your cat does not accidentally go outside of the box, and preferably select one with a cover and filter to aid contain any odors.
Mix baking soda in the cat’s litter as an additional defense against odor.
Scoop the litter box minimum once daily, but the more often the best. If this is not possible, consider one that automatically does the work for you (you’ve to remember to empty it minimum once a day.)
It can sound crazy, but if you have got the space it is suggested that you’ve minimum one litter box per cat.
Discover the right litter for you and your pet or emotional support animal, try some different brands unless you find one that works great at keeping the smell under control.
Use these tips on a routine basis, and you’ll enjoy a fresher smelling home!
Do you suffer from emotional or psychological issues? Do you depend on your pet to provide comfort in stressful situations? Have you ever felt unable to cope in a public place because you didn’t have your animal friend to keep you calm?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, have you considered registering your pet as an emotional support animal?
Imagine how much easier life would be if you could be out and about with your emotional support dog, cat, or animal and not have to explain why you need them with you? Imagine having the peace of mind to know you could take them in the cabin of a plane without having to pay extra costs, or that you won’t ever have to justify them to your housing provider.
Maybe you already know that registering your pet as an emotional support animal would make a huge difference in your life, but you’re unfamiliar with or worry about the process.
We want you to know you are not alone. We have been helping people with emotional support animals for over 25 years, and we can use our knowledge and experience to guide you through the entire process. We can help you get the correct documentation, complete a lifetime registration, and even advise you about the equipment you need for your animal friend.
Registering your pet as an emotional support animal (ESA) is quick, easy, and affordable. Let’s start by outlining everything you need to know.
Although an emotional support animal often starts out as a pet (dog, cat, and other domestic animals), for people who are living with an emotional or psychological health condition, they become so much more.
Unlike service animals, ESAs are often not trained to carry out specific tasks like service animals, but they help people with mental health conditions stay calm in a situation that might otherwise be a trigger for their symptoms.
For many people living with emotional or psychological health conditions, the presence of their emotional support animal gives them the support they need to get through daily life.
People with an emotional support dog, cat or other animal sometimes have conditions such as anxiety or depression. Others have emotional problems such as relationship issues that make coping with certain situations or daily life difficult. It could also be as simple as a fear of flying or another phobia that makes going on a trip or doing something related to their phobia unthinkable if they are not accompanied by their furry companion animal.
In order for a pet to become a legally recognized emotional support dog, cat, or animal, they must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional such as a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or a therapist. This means that they are part of the treatment program for this person. Not currently working with a doctor or therapist? You should consider National Service Animal Registry’s a NO-RISK emotional support animal letter assessment.
To qualify, you must be considered emotionally disabled and have a letter from a licensed therapist to prove it. Some airlines and housing companies will accept a letter from a family doctor.
Almost all domesticated animals qualify to become an emotional support animal. The most common are dog and cats, but rabbits, mice, and rats are common too. Animals can be any age; the only requirement is they are manageable in public and don’t create a nuisance in the home.
What are the Benefits of Registering your Emotional Support Animal?
It isn’t a legal requirement to register your emotional support animal, but there are tremendous benefits, including rights and protections.
You can fly with your emotional support animal in the cabin with you without paying extra costs (The Air Carrier Access Act 49 U.S.C. 41705, Department of Transportation 14 C.F.R. Part 382)
You have the right to live with your emotional support animal in housing where pets are not allowed, without being charged an extra fee (Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988)
Although other public and private establishments (such as hotels, restaurants, taxis, theaters) are not legally required to let you enter with your assistance animal, many are sympathetic if the animal is registered and wears identifying patches or a vest and has an ID card.
For many people, the biggest benefit is the peace of mind to know that their pet is recognized and identifiable as an assistance animal should they need to take advantage of the legal protections in the future, they are covered.
How To Register Your Emotional Support Animal
So, if believe you’d benefit from the advantages of registering your pet as an emotional support animal, you’re probably wondering how to get started. We’ve outlined the process below in three easy steps, but remember you don’t need to do it alone, you can contact us for help and advice at any stage.
Step 1: Get a Letter From a Licensed Therapist
If you don’t have a therapist or your therapist is unwilling to write an animal emotional support letter, National Service Animal Registry (NSAR) offers a NO-RISK emotional support animal letter assessment. National Service Animal Registry is the original and most trusted and referred online provider of ESA prescription letters in the United States, equipped with an extensive network of experienced licensed therapists across the nation who specialize in ESA assessments.
Step 2: Register your Emotional Support Animal
Although you aren’t required to have your ESA letter before registering, you should register your emotional support animal and get the equipment you need to identify them when you’re out and about. If the registration process feels overwhelming, we can help. We offer three different emotional support animal kits, which we have created based on our experience to cater to people with different needs. We can help you decide which suits you best so you can be sure you make the right decision for your furry friend.
All three kits all include lifetime registration of your ESA as standard – that means you never have to register them again – plus registration in the National Service Dog Register, a frameable embossed certificate, an ESA ID card, and ID card leash clip.
Step 3: Get Out and About Easily with your Emotional Support Animal
Once your emotional support animal is registered and you have your equipment, you’re all set to get out and about together. You’ll be able to relax and have the peace of mind to know you don’t need to explain or justify having your emotional support animal with you, even when you fly. You might well be surprised about the welcome you receive in places that aren’t legally required to allow you to bring them inside, such as cafes and restaurants. And if ever you need to prove your pet is an emotional support animal to your housing provider, you’re all set!
Registering Your Emotional Support Animal: Next Steps
We hope this article gave you all the information you need to work out whether registering your pet as an emotional support animal is right for you, and start the registration process.
If you need further help, take a look at our website: National Service Animal Registry. We’ve pulled together all the information you need to guide you through the process of registering your animal.
You can also contact us for further information. We can guide you through the process, provide help and advice about the most appropriate ESA registration kit to suit your emotional support animal and lifestyle, and provide any other help and advice you need.
We’ve helped countless people with emotional support dogs, cats, and animals over the last 25 years. We look forward to helping you too.
Due to the global pandemic COVID-19, more and more people are choosing to do their everyday activities from home. Whether it’s working from home, working out at home to hair appointments and even veterinarian and doctor visits all from the comfort of our living rooms.
We are seeing a lot of things that people used to go out and do can actually be done while practicing social distancing at home. If you need to take your emotional support dog or your service dog or any other pets that you have to the vet but are worried about going into public places or maybe your dog gets stressed at the vet or you just can’t make your regular appointment, you’ll be happy to know there are plenty of veterinarians that are offering online consultations from the comfort of your home. Online vet visits are also convenient when you have a question or are not sure whether you need to take your emotional support dog into the vet’s office or not. Online veterinarians are an awesome resource that pet lovers everywhere are embracing for their service dogs and emotional support dogs, their cats, birds, iguanas, hamsters and so on!
We’ve compiled a list of the best online vets to make sure your emotional support dog or service dog can get the very best care without leaving their treasured homes.
VetLive.com: This website provides reasonably-priced veterinarian services 24/7- one of the few online veterinarians that offer 24/7 access. All vets on this site are licensed and have plenty of experience. Depending on what time you call the vet and the urgency of your request, VetLive consultations range from $16.95 to $59.95.
How to Visit: If you need to make an online appointment for your emotional support dog, the process is fairly simple at VetLive.com. Just create an account and then you can ask a question. Within minutes, you’ll be connected to a veterinarian and you’ll be able to have a live chat with them about your concerns and questions. Bonus: If the veterinarian at VetLive can’t answer your questions, your chat with them is free!
Chewy.com: If you’re a pet owner you’re probably familiar with Chewy.com. While Chewy is not a vet, they do offer a pharmacy that we are big fans of. Chewy offers more than 1,000 brands of pet products and also has experts available 24/7 to help you make the best selection for your emotional support dog or service dog. The reason we love the pet pharmacy so much is because of its convenience. Simply enter your pet’s information and vet information and then you’ll receive your pet’s prescription in as fast as a day or two..straight to your door! How convenient is that?
PetCoach: This website is actually powered by Petco. It’s a great resource for pet owners looking for non-urgent, free advice for their emotional support dogs or service dogs. The website features more than 400,000 articles and answers to questions asked by pet owners over the years. What’s more, the website allows you to easily search these questions and answers for your specific needs. If, for any reason, your question isn’t among the hundreds of thousands already on the site, there is an “Ask a Vet” button that will allow you to submit your own question. You’ll receive an answer from a licensed veterinarian within a day or two. If you need an immediate answer, there’s the option to pay $8 and get help immediately. There’s another option for $30 that offers a more in-depth consultation with a licensed veterinarian. This consultation is done over text messaging. There’s also a monthly subscription option for $9/month for access to all PetCoach services. The monthly membership also gives you discounts. For example, you can wash your emotional support dog at the self-wash station for $2. For non-members, the self-wash stations typically cost $14 per wash.
Ask.Vet: This website connects with licensed vets for live chats on your computer or mobile device. These vets are also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The vets at Ask.Vet are all licensed and have an average practice experience of 12 years. These veterinarians provide guidance, advice and education but they can’t diagnose, treat or prescribe medications. That’s important to note. So, if you’re in an emergency situation or you can tell your emotional support dog will need a consult or medicine, this website isn’t the best option for that. Ask.Vet is a good resource when you have questions and you’d rather have an immediate answer instead of waiting a day or two like some of the other websites. If you do choose to use Ask.Vet and the veterinarian thinks your service dog or other pet needs to be seen immediately, they will provide you with the three emergency animal hospitals that are closest to you. They can also give you referrals to local veterinarians that you can take your emotional support dog in to see. You are charged by session at Ask.Vet. Each session is $19.95 and will last between 15-20 minutes.
VetTriage.com: This website allows you to get immediate assistance for your service dog or emotional support dog via video chat. These vets are available 24/7 to help diagnose your emotional support dog’s health concerns. You have the option to have a video consultation or a video chat if you just have questions that need to be answered.
How to Visit: Using your computer or mobile device, there’s a button on the website that says “Connect Now.” Then you will be prompted to enter your information. Next, you’ll be directed to PayPal to purchase your session. After you’ve entered your payment information, push the “Call” button and you be connected directly with a licensed veterinarian via your mobile device or computer camera. Then your video consult begins. Because of the video capabilities, the vet is able to see your pet on-screen and observe them. This helps them to be able to provide the most accurate plan of action for your emotional support dog.
Banfield Pet Hospital Vet Chat: If you’re a pet owner, you are probably familiar with Banfield Pet Hospital, at the very least you’ve probably passed at Banfield Pet Hospital Clinic in your city. The VetChat offers one-on-one chat with a veterinarian anytime via the Banfield app. These vets are available 24/7 for advice and support. You do have to be a Banfield Optimum Wellness Plan member in order get access to the service. But, for the more than 2 million members across the U.S., Vet Chat is a quick and easy way to get a consult with a vet virtually for any concerns you may have about your emotional support dog.
YourFuzzy.Com: YourFuzzy is another website that allows you to skip the trip to the vet and get your answers from the comfort of your home. YourFuzzy offers video calls for veterinary consultations for your service dog or emotional support dog. The website also provides home-delivery for medications that the vet prescribes, supplements and nutrition. YourFuzzy offers a subscription health program for pets for a fee of $45 per month. The monthly subscription includes two in-home wellness visits per year, annual feces test, annual heart work test, microchipping and registration, health records and reminders and course, the digital access to the veterinary team.
Veterinarians are turning to telemedicine to help meet the needs of their animal patients from anywhere, anytime. Some of the reasons vets use Telehealth, besides COVID-19 are:
Follow-up appointments after surgery
Behavioral issues or training
Patient has transportation issues
Determining whether a service dog or emotional support dog needs to actually go see a veterinarian and how urgently they should get there
Long-term care monitoring
Whether you’re looking to permanently switch to an online veterinarian or just temporarily due to the coronavirus, or maybe your regular vet isn’t open and you need access on a holiday or at any hour of the night, we hope this list will act as a useful resource guide for you to choose the best online vet for your service dog or emotional support dog.
Online vets can help you with prescriptions, a regular check-up, an emergency visit or question or simple questions about your emotional support dog’s behavior. It seems the future really is here as telemedicine continues to evolve. We all know how much anxiety a trip to the vet can cause for our beloved service dogs or emotional support dogs. Virtual visits to the vet can help ease the anxiety for both pet and pet owner. If you are using an emotional support dog or service dog it may be because your mobility is limited or perhaps you have social anxiety. A virtual visit to the vet is a perfect solution for you if that’s the case because you can enjoy quality healthcare from the comfort of your home and at the very least get your questions answered and provide you with peace of mind.
WHICH SERVICE "TYPE" SHOULD I SELECT?
Guide: This type is regarded as a "working service dog". Choose this type if you experience vision problems and your dog is trained to guide you in public settings.
Hearing Alert: This type is regarded as a "working service dog". Choose this type if your dog is trained to alert you to sounds that you are unable to hear or identify, such as alarm clocks, doorbells, telephones, automobile sounds, and other important sounds you have trouble identifying.
In Training: If your dog is being trained to become a service dog, but isn't quite ready to qualify for registration, "In Training" is the service type you should select. Although service dogs that are in training have no federally protected rights, many public places allow you access with your service dog in training.
Medical Assist: This type is regarded as a "working service dog". Choose this type if your dog is trained to assist you when experiencing a physical situation in which you can't perform a major life task for yourself (retrieve items, open doors, turn on lights, etc.).
Mobility: This type is regarded as a "working service dog". Choose this type if your dog is trained or able to provide stability and support for substantial balance or walking problems because of a physical disability.
PSA (Psychiatric Service Animal): This type is regarded as a "working service dog". Choose this type if your psychiatric or emotional disability substantially limits your ability to perform a major life task and your dog is trained to perform or help perform the task for you. A letter from a licensed therapist or psychiatrist that clearly indicates this is required.
Seizure Alert: This type is regarded as a "working service dog". Choose this type if your dog is trained or able to either predict a seizure or to get assistance from another person at the onset of a seizure.
SERVICE DOG VS. EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMAL
An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an animal that, by its very presence, mitigates the emotional or psychological symptoms associated with a handler's condition or disorder. The animal does NOT need to be trained to perform a disability-specific task. All domesticated animals (dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, hedgehogs, rodents, mini-pigs, etc.) may serve as an ESA. The only legal protections an Emotional Support Animal has are 1) to fly with their emotionally or psychologically disabled handler in the cabin of an aircraft and 2) to qualify for no-pet housing. No other public or private entity (motels, restaurants, stores, etc.) is required to allow your ESA to accompany you and in all other instances, your ESA has no more rights than a pet.
You'll also need to be prepared to present a letter to airlines and property managers from a licensed mental health professional stating that you are emotionally disabled and that he/she prescribes for you an emotional support animal.
If you do not have a letter of prescription and are unable to get one, we recommend that you consider Chilhowee Psychological Services. This agency offers legitimate psychometric testing, assessment, diagnosis, AND a letter of prescription from a licensed mental health professional. Click here to view their website.
A final note: Some animals are innately able to predict the onset of a physical or psychiatric event or crisis, effectively enabling the handler to prevent or minimize the event. This is an ability that usually cannot be trained - some animals are simply born with the ability to sense the onset of the event. These types of animals, although not otherwise task-trained, are considered "working" service animals.
Normally, emailed PDF copies are processed and sent the afternoon an order is shipped. It usually takes 2 - 4 business days to process and complete an order once we've received the image of your animal, although that can fluctuate, depending on the number of registrations we've received.
VIP Pass is an optional service that places your order ahead of all other orders in front of you (we usually have between 80 - 140 orders to process each weekday). So, your registration kit will ship either the day you order it (if the order is placed before 10:00 AM mountain time) or the very next business day GUARANTEED! Of course, you'll need to make sure you upload or email us an image of your animal immediately!
VIP Pass is not overnight or next day delivery. To have your order delivered "overnight", please contact our office to order and pay for Next Day Delivery. (1-866-737-3930 or firstname.lastname@example.org).