If you’re thinking about getting an emotional support animal, then there are many things you should consider first.
Emotional support animals help to manage psychological challenges like stress, anxiety, and depression. However, they are not viewed as a service animal and do not afford you all of the same exceptions.
It can also be complicated to register an emotional support animal. Many avenues exist for receiving the proper documentation, but it can be a confusing and discouraging process.
To appreciate the benefits afforded to emotional support animals like guaranteed housing and transportation accommodations, you’ll need emotional support animal supplies to provide verification for your furry companion.
Before you get started, we’ll explain a few things you should keep in mind before registering an emotional support animal below.
Visit a Mental Health Professional
A good starting place is to visit a mental health professional.
This is helpful for a few reasons.
First, it allows you to speak with someone who has the expertise needed to understand your situation. A good psychiatrist, therapist, or psychologist can determine what psychological issues you may be struggling with.
With this information, they can give you an expert opinion on whether an emotional support animal would be a benefit to you. While it may seem excellent to you, it may create more stress and anxiety than it reduces. A good mental health professional can determine this.
The other reason why you want to make this visit is that you’ll want a recommendation letter from them. It will state that you have a disability that would be improved with the companionship of an emotional support animal.
While this is not necessarily a requirement to register an emotional support pet, it does simplify the process. Alternative avenues allow you to bypass this process and receive documentation without visiting a doctor.
Despite this, seeing a mental health professional is still smart because their insight can give you a different perspective on the situation.
Know the Definition of Emotional Support Pets
As briefly mentioned above, you should also know the definition of an emotional support pet and what it entails.
When it comes to helpful animals, three primary types exist. This includes service animals, therapy animals, and emotional support animals.
While they are all meant to benefit humans, how they do it differs. This can be traced back to how much training each type of assistance pet receives.
At the highest level, service animals receive the most training. As a result, they are more effective and can provide physical assistance that other support pets cannot.
Therapy animals are trained to provide psychological comfort. Their training is far less intensive and is focused on obedience and behavior rather than specific skills.
At the lowest level, emotional support pets have the least training. No formal training is required, but it is encouraged to help ensure your pet always provides what you need.
With this in mind, each type of support animal is very different in what they can provide. Emotional support dogs’ services may be more widely accepted because they can make fantastic mental and emotional encouragement. Nevertheless, there are people who are uncomfortable around dogs, and others who might not be able to handle an energetic animal. Alternatively, if you are just not a dog person, you can have a cat or another pet as your emotional support animal. Furthermore, the protections offered for each type of support animal differs.
Service pets are allowed on airplanes, in public spaces, and in no-pet housing. Therapy pets and emotional support pets are typically permitted in no-pet housing but don’t have protections elsewhere.
An emotional support pet provides you relief simply by being there. If you don’t need active assistance and just want a friend, an emotional support animal is a great choice for you.
Understand the Commitment
Another important consideration is to understand the commitment that comes with adopting an emotional support animal.
While an emotional assistance pet is meant to help you, they’re still a living creature that depends on you for survival. Their exact needs will depend on the type of animal, but nothing can survive alone.
A good example of this is an emotional support dog. They’re excellent companions and can fill you with joy, but they must still be looked after. Leaving them alone at home often is not a good option because they can get lonely and anxious.
Furthermore, they’ll also require all the effort that a normal dog would. This entails regular walks, plenty of rigorous playing, and lots of affection. You’ll also need to provide nutritious food and ensure all their health conditions are taken care of.
Owning an emotional support animal means that you own a pet. This is a big responsibility for anyone and it can’t be neglected.
Any Animal Is Eligible
If you’re convinced that an emotional support animal is right for you, then you have the luxury of picking from almost any animal.
This includes your common pets like dogs, cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits, but it also includes more unusual animals like snakes, mini horses, mini pigs, and fish.
One thing to keep in mind is that your emotional support pet should be fairly calm and obedient. An unruly or aggressive pet will only create problems and extra stress.
Considering this, dogs and cats tend to be the best choices. They are often mild-mannered, easy to care for, and simple to connect with.
Remember that any animal will work – just be sure it’s well-behaved!
Emotional support pets provide therapeutic relief despite not having specific training. Their presence is enough to give their owners comfort and happiness that makes life more enjoyable.
You should do a few things before finding an emotional support animal. This includes visiting a mental health professional, learning the definition of an emotional support pet, and understanding the commitment that comes with one.
Considering the benefits provided by an emotional support animal, they are well worth the effort needed to care for them. If one is right for you, ensure that you pick a suitable companion for your lifestyle!