If you own an emotional support animal, you may be frustrated by the growing number of restrictions enforced on these animals, especially by airlines. If you are envious of the ease with which people with service animals can take their animals everywhere they go without question, then it may be time to look into seeing if you can register your emotional support animal as a psychiatric service dog.
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support animals are animals which provide comfort to their owners through their presence and can provide relief for those suffering with mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, stress, and more. They are protected under the Fair Housing Act, meaning you can live with your emotional support animal regardless of pet policy or fees. However, this is about the extent of what emotional support animal protection grants you.
Psychiatric Service Dogs
Psychiatric service dogs are service dogs trained specifically to help those who are mentally ill or disabled. They are trained to do a specific task or tasks in direct relation to their owner’s mental illness or disability. They are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) just like normal service animals, which means they can go anywhere you go and are treated as necessary medical equipment. They can accompany you in public, fly with you, and more.
Psychiatric Service Dog Requirements
If you are hoping to upgrade your emotional support animal to a psychiatric service animal, here are the basic requirements. The animal must be a dog. Rarely is any other kind of animal allowed to be a service animal. The dog must be trained to do one or more tasks that are directly related to your mental illness or disability. These tasks include standing on you during panic attacks, interrupting self-harming behaviors, standing between you and potential threats or triggers, reminding you to take your medications at the correct times, as well as many other things. Your dog must also be trained to be calm and well behaved in public, even in extremely stressful and chaotic environments like an airport.
How to Make Your Emotional Support Animal into a Psychiatric Service Dog?
In order to officially make your emotional support animal into a psychiatric service dog, you must have a psychiatric service dog letter of certification written by a medical or mental health professional verifying your need for the animal. Take the pre-screening quiz on our website United Support Animals to find out if you may qualify to upgrade your emotional support animal to a psychiatric service dog today or call us at 800-918-3151.