As a pet owner you may have considered classifying your pet as either an ESA or Service animal. Before you take the next step it is worth considering the importance of each classification and what that means for you and your pet. Read this blog to learn more to ensure you take the best next step.
Guide to Claiming Your Pet as an ESA or Service Animal
Are you curious about classifying your pet as an ESA or a service animal?
Whether you’re a new pet owner, or you’ve had your furry companion for years, your pets are eligible to become animals trained assistants. Both ESA’s and service animals can help you with physical and mental conditions. However, there are differences between the two that you need to know.
Here, we’ll go over some classifications you can apply for through the U.S. government to have your animal better prepped to assist you. Without further ado, let’s get started.
What Does Classifying Mean?
Before going into details, let’s go over what classifying means in this context. When you classify your animal, you are legally registering the pet as an ESA or service animal. Because of this, your companion gets a unique set of rights compared to other household pets.
When you classify your animal, you benefit from protections that other pets do not receive. In some cases, you can bring your companion into restaurants, and don’t have to pay pet fees in housing situations.
The process will vary depending on the certification you choose, and you’ll have to have sufficient meetings with medical professionals. They will help you determine whether an ESA or service animal is better suited for your condition.
Service Animals vs. Emotional Support Animals
The differences between service animals and emotional support animals still confuse people. Some wonder why there are two separate classifications, while others think that service animals and ESAs provide the same benefits to their owners.
To put it simply, both ESAs and service animals are very different for many reasons.
Here’s are brief definitions that makes the differences clear, although you can find more detailed information at websites that have service dog FAQs:
- A service dog is an animal specifically trained to work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. For example, these pets guide the blind, alert deaf individuals, and calm people with PTSD, among other things. These animals are NOT pets. Instead, they are considered workers that have duties if their owner is put to danger in public.
- An ESA, on the other hand, provides emotional support and comfort to an individual. The pet is not trained to complete a specific task.
Getting a Service Animal
If you have a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability, you qualify for a service animal. Perhaps if you think you quality, you’ll want to get into contact with a mental health professional.
You can register a dog or a miniature pony. If you want to register a pet you already own, they’ll have to undergo extensive training to meet the requirements.
With your service animal, you cannot be denied housing, entry into restaurants or public spaces, or public places.
Getting an Emotional Support Animal
An emotional support animal, while not trained the same way as a service animal, could be an essential part of your mental health recovery process. If you suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or another mental illness, you can register your pet as an ESA.
Unlike service animals, any pet can be classified to provide you comfort. Get into contact with your therapist and make a clear case for your need. From there, you’ll receive a signed ESA letter that’s good for a year. Training a dog is an important step. Bark and Birch can help.
Are You Ready to Classify Your Pet?
Hopefully, you feel more confident with classifying your pet as either an ESA or Service animal. Remember to speak to a medical professional about your condition so you can decide which type of animal is best for you.
Good luck on the process, whether you choose the service animal or ESA route.