Certify Emotional Support Dog

Emotional Support Dog Certification: Common Myths and Facts

You've probably heard a lot about emotional support dogs (ESAs) lately. They're becoming increasingly popular as more individuals discover the profound benefits these animals can provide in terms of emotional comfort and companionship. You might also be considering getting one yourself, knowing what benefits they provide.

However, along with their rise in popularity, there's also a lot of misinformation floating around. That's why we're here today: to debunk common myths surrounding us and provide clarity on the facts surrounding ESA certification.

Whether you're actively considering getting an ESA or just curious about the process and legalities involved, this blog aims to provide insights and clear up any confusion.

Myth 1: Any Dog Can Be an Emotional Support Animal

Fact: Not all dogs are suitable for emotional support.

Let's start with the idea that any dog can be an emotional support dog. Sure, many dogs provide comfort and companionship, but not every pup is cut out for the role. An emotional support dog needs to have a calm temperament, be well-behaved in various settings, and, ideally, have a bond with you that supports your emotional needs. It's not just about picking any dog off the street; it's about finding the right fit for both you and the dog.

Myth 2: ESAs Need Special Training Like Service Dogs

Fact: ESAs do not require specialized training.

This is a big one. People often confuse emotional support animals with service animals or dogs, thinking they need to go through rigorous training programs. The truth is that ESAs are different. They don't perform specific tasks like guiding the blind or alerting someone to an oncoming seizure. Hence, they don't need any specialized training like service dogs.

Instead, their primary role is to provide comfort and emotional stability through their presence. Your ESA doesn't need to learn any special tricks or tasks – their job is to be there for you.

Myth 3: You Can Get ESA Certification Online Instantly

Fact: Legitimate ESA certification requires a letter from a licensed mental health professional.

You will need an official certificate from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) who can vouch for your need for an ESA. This letter must mention that you have a mental health condition and that your dog is important in providing essential emotional support. Avoid those too-good-to-be-true offers – they often are.

Myth 4: ESA Certification Guarantees Access to All Public Places

Fact: ESAs have different legal protections compared to service dogs.

Here's where it gets tricky. While service dogs can go almost anywhere their owners go, ESAs don't have the same level of access. But they are protected under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), which means you can keep them in housing that typically doesn't allow pets.

However, recent changes in airline policies mean ESAs are no longer automatically allowed on flights. It's essential to know your rights and be prepared to discuss them with landlords and airline staff when necessary.

Myth 5: Emotional Support Animals and Therapy Animals Are the Same

Fact: ESAs and therapy animals serve different purposes and have different legal standings.

Another common misconception is that ESAs and therapy animals are the same. They're not. Therapy animals are trained to offer comfort to many people in various settings like hospitals, schools, and nursing homes.

ESAs, on the other hand, provide support to one person – their owner. They don't have the same training or legal status as therapy animals, but their impact on their owner's life can be just as significant.

Myth 6: You Don't Need to Renew ESA Certification

Fact: ESA letters need to be renewed annually.

Lastly, let's talk about the myth that once you get an ESA letter, you're set for life. Unfortunately, that's not the case. You cannot keep using the same certificate all your life. Your ESA letter needs to be renewed annually.

This ensures that your mental health professional can reassess your needs and continue to support your relationship with your ESA. Keeping your documentation updated is crucial for housing and travel accommodation.


There are endless myths you will come across, and if you don't confirm them when you are supposed to, you might end up facing many problems. By recognizing the roles, benefits, and legal protections associated with ESAs, you can make informed decisions that suit your unique needs and improve your overall well-being.

Whether seeking practical assistance or emotional support, these animals contribute significantly to the lives of their owners and deserve recognition for their valuable contributions.

At American Pet Registry, we empower your pet journey with safety and joy. You can certify an emotional support dog with us, and our emotional support certificates offer peace of mind, certifying your pet as a trusted companion. We support you at every stage, ensuring your ESA is properly certified to provide essential emotional support. Choosing the right ESA can profoundly impact your life, offering unwavering companionship and emotional stability.

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