Emotional support animals and service animals can go a long way in helping boost someone’s mental health and helping them feel their best. Another thing that can be hugely beneficial to someone struggling with a mental illness is hitting the gym on a regular basis. However, can these two things be combined? Can you take your emotional support animal or service animal to the gym with you?
Emotional Support Animal Rules
Emotional support animals are protected by the Fair Housing Act, which means that owners can keep them even in apartments with no pet policies, and they cannot be charged a pet fee. Unfortunately, this does extent to taking emotional support animals out in public places, meaning you would not be able to take your emotional support animal to the gym with you.
However, your emotional support animal may qualify as a psychiatric service dog, which would allow you to take it out in public places with you. A psychiatric service dog is defined as a dog which performs a task in order to help a person with a mental illness. Tasks can include interrupting panic attacks, reminding individuals to take their medication, or interrupting obsessive behaviors. If your emotional support animal qualifies as a psychiatric service animal, then you would be able to take it to the gym with you.
Service Animal Rules
Service animals are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are treated as necessary medical equipment. This means you can take them virtually anywhere with you and keep them by your side at all times. Some areas of the gym may be off-limits to your service animal, however, such as the gym pool or showers. This is because it breaks public safety health codes, and the hair could cause damage to the pool filters or shower drains.
Things To Take into Consideration
Service animals must be well trained and calm even in unfamiliar circumstances, so they are not startled and overwhelmed by the chaos and noise of a fitness center. They also must be kept clear of equipment and other people to avoid injury to themselves and other individuals. Being mindful of your dog’s and other’s safety is a must at all times. It also may be helpful to speak to the gym or fitness center’s staff in advance to ask about their specific policies in relation to service animals.
To conclude, you can take your service animal or psychiatric service dog to your local gym or fitness center with you; however, you cannot take your emotional support animal with you. There may be certain areas of the gym that you can not bring your service animal into, such as the gym pool or showers. It is important to check the facility’s service animal policies in advance to be prepared. One important thing to have is a service animal letter of certification. You can easily get one from our experts at United Support Animal. Contact us today so you can be prepared to hit the gym with your furry companion by your side. Call 800-918-3151