Emotional support animals provide many health benefits and having an ESA can be therapeutic for some people. However, there are some things that the ESA owner should know before bringing an ESA home. Getting an ESA is a major life event that should be taken seriously and due consideration should be given to all the stages in the process. Your pet would definitely help you heal and love you but you have certain responsibilities to consider as well. You should get an ESA letter before bringing your pet home. This will provide you many benefits that we will discuss later in this post.
Your ESA provides companionship and love that helps reduce the symptoms of emotional distress. You can choose from a variety of animals but you have to decide carefully.
You should spend plenty of time deciding what kind of pet would be most suitable for your needs. Once you decide on the animal, you can get an emotional support animal letter from your therapist. Only you can know what will work for you and what your needs are from a pet. You can discuss it with your therapist to find the best option for yourself.
You have to find a pet that you can take care of and the one that can optimize your mental health.
Can you make this commitment?
First of all ensure that you are bringing a living being home so you should be able to take care of its needs and provide it safety, comfort, food, and water. You have to meet all the needs of the animal to keep it healthy and safe. Each animal has different needs so you have to research the specific needs of your ESA.
Make sure that you are emotionally or physically capable of looking after the animal. You have to give it food, water and take it out for a walk or to see the vet.
You should keep in mind the expenses of keeping the ESA. Depending upon the type of animal you get, the cost of care would be variable. Cat and dog food can be expensive, while hamster food is very cheap.
You have to check the space availability before deciding on your pet. Some animals are larger in size and require larger space to play and move. A dog for example needs larger space.
You have to check the size of the ESA for cuddles and traveling. Smaller pets can sleep with you or cuddle easily. The nature of animals also matters as some pets like to be stroked and hugged while others don’t. Smaller pets are portable and easier to take with you wherever you go.
Some pets have higher social acceptability and they are easier to take on the airlines or the bus. Such as you can carry a dog or cat but you would face difficulty carrying a bearded dragon. Unusual pets usually bring around their own unique challenges in terms of acceptability.
Check for the availability of open spaces around your house if you are getting an ESA that likes to go out for walks. You need to have a garden or backyard if you are getting a miniature horse or miniature pig. Dogs like to play and go on a walk so you should have a park nearby.
You would select the pet according to your personality and preferences. If you like to go outdoors and would like to socialize more then getting an active pet as a dog will help. But if you want to stay indoors and don’t want to go out for walks then a cat or hamster would be a good option for you.
You have to keep in mind the grooming needs of the pet and the expenses involved in caring.
Check if the ESA would match your lifestyle
You have to know the nature of the animal such as how much attention it needs and how much time you have. You have to take it out for walks, play with it, and feed it, so you have to be responsible for making this decision. The pet should improve your mental health rather than causing more burden
You have to get the breed that is most suitable for your personality. Also, keep in mind any allergies to get a hypoallergenic ESA to avoid problems.
You have to check or make your home pet-friendly. Some things can be very dangerous to your pet if you do not pay attention. Chocolate is dangerous for hamsters and so is chewing gum for dogs and ibuprofen can be dangerous for your cat. You have to remove any toxic plants from your home and electric cords too.
Keep your vet and your pet emergency contacts on your phone. You should keep the number of poison control, and stolen pet services on speed dial to avoid any adverse events.
You would have to train your pet if you want to take them out with you as it is a safety concern for others. If you train you ESA well, it won't become a source of distress or concern for your neighbors.
Considerations on the ESA Letter
Once you have considered all these things you can move to the next step. You can get the esa letter for housing from your counselor, therapist, or health provider. The ESA letter would provide credibility to your need for the ESA as it is recognized by the federal government.
- Once you get your therapist to issue the letter for your needs, you should always keep it with you.
- Make sure to get your letter renewed every year as it is usually valid for one year only.