Registering a service dog and an emotional support dog pet

Registering a service dog and an emotional support dog

As per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are meant to assist their owners with tasks directly associated with their disability. It is important to note that service dogs differ from emotional support dogs. Service dogs undergo training to perform tasks for their owner. If you wish to register your dog as a service dog or an emotional support dog, here are several ways to register and the various prerequisites.

Steps to register a service dog
A service dog can be of any size or breed or size. The only important requirement is to be completely capable of assisting their owner. For example, a small dog cannot assist in opening doors or carrying bags. If you already have a dog and wish to register them as your service dog, your pet will have to undergo specific training. Here’s how to go about the whole process:

You have to confirm that you have a qualifying disability
To have a service dog, you need to have documented proof that you have a disability that requires you to have constant assistance in order to work, socialize, or go about routine activities. A licensed healthcare professional can help with this. They will assess your overall health and ascertain whether you require a service dog. Once this is done, they will furnish you with a letter stating the same.
You will have to train your service dog
Before registering your dog as a service dog, you have to ensure they meet this prerequisite: your dog must be trained to perform a task or job relating to your disability. Although it is not necessary to enroll them for special training sessions by a licensed handler, it’s recommended that you are certain about specific aspects of your dog’s behavior. These include their temperament, overall health, and their ability to assist you in any given situation and emergencies.
You need to ensure your dog undergoes a public access test
Another prerequisite mandated by the ADA is that service dogs must be trained enough to be well-behaved and follow their owners’ orders in public spaces in every situation. This is why many owners make their to-be service dogs go through public access tests. This helps them to check whether their dog will not be excited, distracted, fearful, or aggressive in public places. A public access test is the best way to know whether your dog is ready to be a service dog.
You must register your service dog
Once you have qualified to have a service dog, you can register through registries such as Service Dog Certification. Another option is to register through the health department of your state of residence. Although it is not mandatory to register your service dog, many prefer to do so since there are several benefits, including getting access to identifiers such as service dog identification cards, tags and vests that clearly indicate that their dog is an assistance animal. This helps to prevent unnecessary confrontations in public places.

Steps to register an emotional support dog
Many people with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, phobias, or any other mental health condition have an emotional support dog to help them through whenever the symptoms get worse or debilitating. They offer emotional assistance and support to their owners in times of distress or emergencies. If you wish to register your dog as an emotional support animal, here are a few basic steps.

Schedule a visit with a doctor
You can either schedule an online session or an in-person visit. You need to do this to know whether you qualify to have an emotional support animal in the first place. Consult your doctor and discuss with them whether it could help you to have an emotional support dog.
Get approval from a mental health professional
Once you know whether an emotional support dog will genuinely help in your case, you need to get a certified ESA letter. Any licensed mental health professional, including your therapist, can give this. You must undergo a few assessment tests before receiving the letter. Also, you may have to renew ESA travel letters and require a few forms to be filled by your doctor as mandated by airlines or the destination you are traveling to.
Consider registering your dog
Similar to service dogs, it is not legally required to register your emotional support dog. However, registration does make a lot of things easier. When you register with a federal registry or health department, you will be immediately notified whenever there are changes in legal issues pertaining to emotional support dogs. In addition, you will have access to identifiers, such as vests and cards that can help you while traveling.