People legally qualify for emotional support animals when they have emotional disabilities. Your emotional disability needs to be certified by licensed mental health professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists. This certification is provided through an appropriately formatted and formal letter.

Other medical doctors who do not specialize in mental health are not considered to be mental health professionals. In some cases, however, managers and owners of properties like airlines and apartments may accept certification forms from family physicians. Make sure that the right authority writes your letter.

Black Lab

Qualifying for Emotional Support Animals

  • The letterhead of the mental health professional must be on your emotional animal support letter.
  • ESA letters should include details of licensing and the date when they were written. Request sample letters are available online for viewing.
  • The details in your letter aim at informing the recipient that you are currently a patient of the health professional and under your mental health professional’s treatment and care. The letter should also contain details pertaining to your limitations in regards to performing a minimum of one major life activity because of your mental or emotional disability.
  • An ESA letter further informs the recipient that an ESA prescription is an essential part of the treatment for your current disorder or condition. The letter should be dated no more than a year from your departure date if you want to travel.


Certain disorders qualify individuals for emotional support animal letters and ESA ownership. These consist of learning disorders, cognitive disorders, substance abuse, mental illness, bipolar and mental skill disorders among others.

Animal Training

Emotional support animals are not like service animals that need training in order for them to perform services for their owners. An emotional support animal is required to provide emotional support for its handler and qualifies as long as it is not dangerous or causes disturbance for property mangers and other people.


Airlines continue to acknowledge that there are individuals who require emotional support from their animals. They need supporting documents when these requests are made, including an ESA letter for travel purposes within the year. The letter will enable you to travel with your animal without additional costs as long as you comply with the requirements.

It is important for the support animal to behave appropriately in public and remain calm during the flight. Find out the requirements of the specific airlines that you plan to use to be prepared and avoid disappointment when you need to travel. If you are yet to obtain a letter, you need to find out whether or not you qualify.


Mental health professionals play a key role in making it possible for people who have mental and emotional challenges to be treated fairly and access facilities while getting the support they need. They provide evaluations and letters that enable individuals to live and travel with their cats, dogs and other support animals. Several qualified people have benefited from prescription letters that have added immense value to their lives. The presence of emotional support animals is vital for their handlers’ overall wellbeing.


Sharon Shine is a writer and researcher. She is passionate about information technology and the ongoing evolution of online platforms that have made it much easier for people to find the information that they need. Read about emotional support animal letters here





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