5 Common Myths About Emotional Support Animals

The stigma around mental health illnesses has been fading in the past few years. This has made more people come out and prioritize taking care of themselves.

However, mental health patients find regular therapy quite expensive. They do not have the money to see a therapist when the need arises.

Due to this, most patients have turned into using emotional support animals to try and improve their mental conditions. This is despite the misconceptions that exist on the use of ESAs even though research shows that they help a lot.

There are so many misconceptions and myths surrounding the use of these animals. Some people do not know who should use the animals, what they are and do, and how they can get one. 

Emotional support animals are mainly used for comfort and helping patients recover from mental illnesses. Different animals ranging from dogs, rabbits, cats, and horses are mostly used as emotional support animals.

The most common myths people associate with ESAs include;

ESAs are Service Animals and Vice Versa

Service animals are animals with a certain type of training that allows them to perform different tasks to help people with psychological or physical disabilities. These animals have to be tested and certified for them to be service animals.

On the other hand, emotional support animals do not have to be trained. They are pets that are tasked with helping a person heal from a mental disorder. They help such people deal with their symptoms and improve their health. Here is a useful article with more facts about emotional support animals.

You Only Need a Vest To Get an Emotional Support Animal

Even though you do not need to train an animal for it to qualify to be an emotional support animal, you do not only need a vest to get one but also a letter from a certified mental health professional.

The professional evaluates whether your mental illness makes it impossible for you to engage in some of your daily activities. If it does, then you get a letter that allows you to keep an ESA.

A vest or a badge is not the only thing you need. They are not even necessary when keeping an ESA.

Emotional Support Animals Travel Free of Charge

If you have a letter signed by a certified mental health professional, you can have your emotional support animal traveling in an aircraft, but in the cabin. This will, however, depend on different rules from the aircraft.

Different airlines have different requirements and rules governing the transportation of emotional support animals. Most of them allow only cats and dogs. However, badly behaved ESAs will be denied entry.

Emotional Support Animals are Allowed to Go Everywhere

We have discussed the difference between service animals and ESAs above. When it comes to places that they are allowed to visit, there is also a difference. Service animals are allowed to go anywhere with their owners as long as the general public is allowed into such places.

On the other hand, emotional support animals are not allowed to go everywhere with their owners. They are used in houses or places that allow pets. They cannot join their owners in places like restaurants or places of work.

You Cannot Use the Internet to Get an ESA Letter

You can get an ESA letter online and it is actually legal. If you did an online search right now, you will find several companies offering ESA services. This is, however, not free. It is important to note that getting an ESA letter varies from one state to another.

That notwithstanding, you need to make sure that the letter is signed by a certified mental health professional. It is through this letter that you can be a legitimate owner of an emotional support animal.


Relying on the internet to learn about emotional support animals can be misleading at times because of the false information and fake facts available on most websites. You need to make sure that you are getting your information from trustworthy websites to avoid being misled.