When you have a disability of some kind, you may be thinking about getting a support dog of some kind. There are two major types of support dogs that you can get. These are service dogs and emotional support dogs. Each of these types of support animals have their benefits and potential drawbacks. Get to know some of the differences between these two support animal options. Then, you can decide which type of support dog will be best for you and your needs.
Emotional Support Animals Do Not Need Certification
One of the biggest benefits of choosing an emotional support dog as your support animal of choice is the fact that an emotional support dog does not need to be certified by any official organization. Emotional support animals are dogs or other animals that are used primarily for companionship. They are usually "prescribed" to people with a mental or psychiatric health condition. This can include depression, bipolar disorder, and more.
A therapist or psychiatric doctor is the care provider that can write a letter stating that you are basically prescribed an emotional support animal. They can also fill out forms to this effect.
A service dog, on the other hand, does need to be certified and trained. Your dog will be required to go through an extensive training process to be able to be out in the community without interacting with or bothering other people. They will also, of course, be trained in providing support and care to you as needed. This can include providing pressure during a panic attack to relieve symptoms. You must have a service dog certificate to call your dog a service animal.
Service Dogs Have More Protections Under the Law
When you compare service dogs and emotional support dogs, one of the starkest differences is that service dogs have more protections under the law. A service dog can go with you into stores, restaurants, and other public spaces. You can even have your service dog with you when you receive medical care or travel. And it should go without saying that service dog can live with you even if your apartment complex or house has a no pets policy in place.
If you opt to have an emotional support dog, you will only have significant protections when it come to housing. Emotional support animals are allowed in housing environments that do not accept pets or dogs. You will have to provide documentation that you have an emotional support dog in the form of a letter from your therapist or other care provider or by having them fill out a form for your housing provider.
Generally, emotional support animals are allowed to travel with their owners via airplane and other means. However, there has been some pushback on this issue lately, and you will have to make sure you check with the airline ahead of time and bring documentation with you to prove your dog is an emotional support animal.
Now that you know some of the major differences between service dogs and emotional support dogs, you can be sure that you get the right type of support animal for your needs.