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What You Need to Know About Owning an Emotional Support Dog

by Lisa Sitwell March 27, 2020

What You Need to Know About Owning an Emotional Support Dog

Everyone feels down at least once in their lifetime. Maybe you didn't get the job you were hoping for, or maybe your relationship ended, and you need time to heal. But over time, things start to look up and you continue with living. Unfortunately, emotional issues or disabilities don't improve for everyone. In fact, without proper treatment, symptoms continue to get worse. In addition to receiving psychological counseling, emotional support dogs are also highly effective in treating symptoms. However, there’s more to having an emotional support dog than you may realize. Here's what you need to know about owning an emotional support dog.

How Do I Qualify for an Emotional Support Dog?

To qualify for an emotional support dog, you must be diagnosed as emotionally disabled by a medical professional. The diagnosis must be made by a licensed therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist. You also need a certified letter from one of these three medical professionals. This letter must contain the doctor’s name, license number and where the license was issued. The letter also needs to specify what condition you have, i.e., bipolar disorder, developmental delay or severe anxiety and depression. About 28.8 percent of Americans will develop an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. If you suffer from severe anxiety that doesn't respond to one-on-one counseling, an emotional support dog may be the next step.

Is There Any Special Training Involved?

Just like a service animal, special training is required for most emotional support dogs. However, the degree of training does depend on the owner's diagnosis. Some dogs become a companion while others help to prevent self-harm behaviors. While any emotional support dog can be qualified, you need to make sure that they aren’t going to be too much to handle. Having a dog that doesn't listen to defeats the purpose of emotional support.

Where Can the Emotional Support Dog Go?

An emotional support dog can go just about anywhere with you as long as you can prove it. If you’re planning on taking a trip out of the country, you must produce verification of need. Then, your dog can come at no additional cost. In addition, emotional support dogs also have access to areas where pets are prohibited. Just remember to bring the verification with you to avoid problems.

Living with an emotional disorder doesn't need to ruin your life. In conjunction with proper therapy, owning an emotional support dog can make navigating the issues of daily living just a little easier.

If you get a dog who loves to play, try entertaining them with the Tether Tug for hours of fun!





Lisa Sitwell
Lisa Sitwell

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