Frequently Asked Support Animal Questions

Emotional support Animals (ESAs) provide comfort to individuals suffering from anxiety, stress or other mental health concerns, and help them deal with challenges that might otherwise compromise their quality of life.

For some individuals suffering with anxiety or other mental health issues, the presence of a dog is critical to their ability to function normally on a day-to-day basis. Emotional support Animals (ESAs) provide comfort to these individuals and helps them deal with challenges that might otherwise compromise their quality of life.

Although all dogs offer an emotional connection with their owner, to legally be considered an ESA, the dog must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional. A therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist must determine that the presence of the animal is needed for the mental health of the patient. For example, owning a pet might ease a person’s anxiety or give them a focus in life. The dogs can be of any age and any breed.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from refusing to rent to anyone based on race, religious, gender, age, and other factors including a disability. By having an Emotional Support Animal, an individual falls within the definition of having a disability under the Fair Housin Act. Accordingly, landlords are required to make reasonable accommodations to those who maintain an Emotional Support Animal. Landlords may not charge an additional fee for assistance animals.

This also applies to travel accommodations. Upon meeting the requirements, hotels or short term rentals are not permitted charge an additional fee for traveling with an Emotional Support Animal. Providing a certificate to your hotel front desk or Airbnb host should be sufficient evidence to waive a pet fee in the majority of cases.

Emotional Support Animals are not automatically qualified to fly. We always recommend contacting your airline as soon as possible, in advance of any air travel plans, as each airline maintains their own policy with respect to allowing Emotional Support Animals to travel in the cabin.

Under the Air Carrier Access Act, Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals are permitted to travel in the cabin with their handler. Airlines can determine if an animal is a service animal or pet by:

  • The credible verbal assurances of an individual with a disability using the animal;
  • Looking for physical indicators such as the presence of a harness or tags;
  • Requiring documentation for psychiatric support animals and emotional support animals; and
  • Observing the behavior of animals.

Most airlines have specific documentation requirements for Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals. Generally, a letter from your health professional is required. Always check with your airline in advance. For additional information see the ACAA.

We do not require medical proof or a letter from a doctor to process your registration. By registering, you affirm that you have a physical or mental disability that impairs your ability to complete everyday activities and your Service Animal helps you with a specific task(s).

Under the ADA, individuals do not have to disclose the nature of their disability to anyone in order to be allowed to have their Service Dog accompany them. It is unlawful to ask for medical documentation, certification, or proof of training.

Many people are ignorant of these laws so it is common to provide written documentation and identifiers to avoid disputes.

Take our quiz to see if you are elegible for a support dog.

No, even if your lease has a “no-pets” policy, if you require the the use of a support animal your landlord must accommodate you and allow you and your support dog to stay.

Learn more about Landlords and support animal evictions here.

Registering your dog as an emotional support animal (ESA) can offer several benefits, especially if you are struggling with mental health problems. One of the key advantages is the ability to live in housing with “no pets” policies without facing discrimination. Landlords are required to provide reasonable accommodation for ESAs and cannot charge pet fees or deposits, as stipulated by the Fair Housing Act. Having your ESA registered can also make it easier to identify your animal as an ESA, which can help reduce misunderstandings or disputes with housing providers or neighbors.

Learn more about The Benefits of Registering Your Dog as an Emotional Support Animal here.

Under the Fair Housing Act, you can have an emotional support dog in your residence, even if there’s a no-pets policy. Unlike service dogs, emotional support dogs are not granted legal access to most public places like stores, restaurants, and other businesses. Workplace and educational institution policies on emotional support dogs vary and are at the discretion of the individual employer or institution.

No, even if your lease has a “no-pets” policy, if you require the the use of a support animal your landlord must accommodate you and allow you and your support dog to stay.

Learn more about Landlords and support animal evictions here.

Emotional support animals may be allowed on some cruise ships, but policies vary by cruise line. You’ll need to check with the specific cruise line for their rules, which often require documentation such as a letter from a mental health professional. Be aware of potential size and breed restrictions, and ensure compliance with health and vaccination requirements. It’s also important to consider the regulations of any countries the cruise will visit.

Read more about bringing emotional support animals on cruise ships here.

The American Disability Act defines a service dog as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  Many people with disabilities use a service animal in order to fully participate in everyday life. Dogs can be trained to perform many important tasks to assist people with disabilities, such as providing stability for a person who has difficulty walking, picking up items for a person who uses a wheelchair, preventing a child with autism from wandering away, or alerting a person who has hearing loss when someone is approaching from behind.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, businesses and organizations that serve the public must allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals into all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. This federal law applies to all businesses open to the public, including restaurants, hotels, taxis and shuttles, grocery and department stores, hospitals and medical offices, theaters, health clubs, parks, and zoos.

Business are not permitted to ask individuals with disabilities to remove their service animal from the premises unless:

  • the animal is out of control and the animal’s owner does not take effective action to control it (for example, a dog that barks repeatedly during a movie); or
  • the animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.

Individuals with disabilities may be asked:

  • if an animal is a service animal; and/or
  • what tasks the animal has been trained to perform

Accordingly, Individuals with disabilities often choose to voluntarily identify their service animals in an online registry and carry physical identifiers such as ID cards, and certifications

To make your dog a Service Dog, they must be trained in a certain task that assists you with a disability. They must also be trained in proper obedience, good manners and public skills.

You may train your dog on your own, with assistance from a private trainer, or through a 3rd party training program. No certificate is required to prove your dog’s training. Registering your dog with Service Dog Certifications provides identification to landlords and businesses who may request proof of registration.

Service dogs are allowed in almost all public places in the United States as protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This legislation enables individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their service dogs in public areas where pets are typically not allowed. Here are some specific places where service dogs are generally allowed:

  • Public Transportation: Service dogs are permitted on public transportation such as buses, trains, and subways.
  • Housing Facilities: Under the Fair Housing Act, service dogs are allowed in housing facilities, even those with a no-pet policy.
  • Workplaces: Employers are required to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities, which includes allowing service dogs.
  • Educational Institutions: Service dogs are allowed in schools, colleges, and other educational institutions to accompany their handlers.
  • Commercial Facilities and Businesses: Service dogs are allowed in businesses such as stores, hotels, restaurants, theaters, and more.
  • Healthcare Facilities: Hospitals and clinics typically allow service dogs, although there may be restrictions in certain areas such as operating rooms or burn units.
  • Parks and Public Areas: Service dogs can accompany their handlers in parks, beaches, and other public areas.

It’s important to note that service dogs must be under control at all times, either via a harness, leash, or voice control, depending on the handler’s needs. Also, these guidelines apply to service dogs, which are distinct from emotional support animals and therapy dogs; the latter two do not have the same broad public access rights under the ADA.

The ADA does not require certification, but it is recommended to have proof that the animal has been certified or registered to help staff and general public recognize your dog as a support animal. By law businesses my only ask you two questions to determine if your dog is a service dog:

  1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

It is unlawful to ask any questions about your disability.

You can prove your dog is registered with Service Dog Certifications by using the number on your certificate or ID card with our Search ID Feature.

Under the Air Carrier Access Act, Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals are permitted to travel in the cabin with their handler. Airlines can determine if an animal is a service animal or pet by:

  • The credible verbal assurances of an individual with a disability using the animal;
  • Looking for physical indicators such as the presence of a harness or tags;
  • Requiring documentation for psychiatric support animals and emotional support animals; and
  • Observing the behavior of animals.

Most airlines have specific documentation requirements for Emotional Support Animals and Psychiatric Service Animals. Generally, a letter from your health professional is required. Always check with your airline in advance. For additional information see the ACAA.

Yes. Any dog breed is eligible to become a Service Dog, ESA, or Therapy Dog as long as they can meet the requirements. Traditionally Labs, German Shepherds, and Poodles have been common support animals, but the ADA does not place any limitations on breeds. Each dog and their personality is unique, so make sure your dog is a good candidate before investing time and effort on both your parts.

Service dogs are generally allowed on cruise ships. Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line permit service dogs that are individually trained to assist a person with a disability. These dogs are allowed in most public areas of the ship but are not permitted in pools or spas. Passengers with service dogs need to prepare appropriate documentation and notify the cruise line in advance. It’s important to check with the specific cruise line for detailed policies and requirements​.

Service dogs are allowed in restaurants in the United States under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This law mandates that service dogs, which are trained to assist individuals with disabilities, must be permitted in public places, including restaurants. This means that a person with a disability who uses a service dog has the right to bring the dog into a restaurant, and the restaurant cannot refuse service or segregate the person because of the dog.

The access rights of service dogs in training (SDiT) to public places vary across different states in the United States. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) doesn’t specifically include SDiTs, many states have enacted their own laws granting similar access rights as fully trained service dogs. The large majoirty of states allow SDiTs to enter public spaces like businesses and transportation for training purposes. However, the extent of these rights and any additional requirements (like wearing a vest or leash) depend on individual state laws. It’s important for trainers to check the specific laws in their state to understand the access rights for service dogs in training

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is not permissible to ask about the specific nature or details of a person’s disability. However, when it comes to service dogs, there are two questions that staff members at a business or other public place are allowed to ask: Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? What work or task has the dog been trained to perform? These questions are designed to ascertain whether the dog is a service animal and to establish that it is necessary due to a disability. Importantly, these questions are about the dog’s training and tasks, not about the person’s disability itself. You cannot legally inquire about the person’s disability, request medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

Service dogs, protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), are generally allowed in most public areas. However, there are exceptions, including private clubs and religious institutions, which are not covered by the ADA’s regulations regarding service animals. In medical facilities, service animals can be excluded from sterile environments like operating rooms. Each case can vary based on specific circumstances and local regulations, and it’s essential to be aware of these exceptions to understand both the rights and limitations concerning the access of service dogs​.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are generally required to be on a leash, harness, or tether while in public places. However, the ADA does provide for exceptions in cases where the leash would interfere with the service dog’s ability to perform its work or if the handler’s disability prevents the use of these devices. In such situations, the handler must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. The ADA’s focus is on the behavior and control of the service animal, rather than strict adherence to a leash or tether requirement.

Service animals, including service dogs, are expected to be under the control of their handler at all times as per the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines. This includes maintaining proper behavior in public settings. Uncontrolled barking, growling at other people, or acting out of control are generally considered unacceptable behaviors for service animals.

In certain situations, it may be necessary for a service dog to be carried, especially if the handler’s disability requires such an action or if the environment makes it necessary (e.g., crowded areas, surfaces harmful to the dog). Each situation is unique and should be considered in the context of the handler’s specific needs and the dog’s ability to perform its duties.

While the ADA doesn’t legally require service dog certification, having one can be useful in daily situations. Certification can provide easier identification of the service dog, leading to reduced inquiries and smoother access to public places. It also helps in raising public awareness and understanding about service dogs. In certain situations like housing or travel, certification can streamline processes, offering a quick way to demonstrate the dog’s role. However, it’s important to remember that a service dog’s primary qualification is its training and behavior, not its certification status.

Obtaining a service dog without a disability is not aligned with the purpose of service dogs, which are trained to assist people with disabilities. Instead, individuals without disabilities can consider alternatives like emotional support animals, which offer comfort in various settings, volunteering with organizations that train service dogs, adopting a pet dog, or fostering dogs from shelters. These options provide ways to interact with and care for dogs without the ethical concerns associated with misrepresenting a pet as a service dog. Service dogs have a specific role in assisting people with disabilities, and it’s crucial to respect and understand this.

Service dog vests or specific forms of identification are not legally required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Service dogs are defined by their training and tasks, not their appearance. However, many handlers choose to use vests or identification patches to signal their dog’s working status, facilitate public interactions, and clarify that the dog is a service animal. While these items can be helpful, they are not mandatory, and the absence of such identification does not affect the legal status or rights of a service dog under the ADA. Handlers should be prepared to provide information about their service dog and disability when asked by business owners or the public. Local regulations may vary, so it’s advisable to check local laws regarding service dog identification if needed.

Therapy dogs provide relief to individuals to those in facility settings, or to individuals who require comfort with dealing emotional, or physical problems. Unlike Emotional Support Animals, therapy dogs do not require a prescription from a healthcare professional.

Therapy dogs bring many benefits to the individuals they visit. They may physical health benefits such as lowering blood pressure and heart rate or psychological benefits such as reducing  anxiety, and increasing levels of endorphins and oxytocin.

Therapy dogs must have attained adulthood, with many organizations not allowing puppies under one year old. Some establishments may require therapy dogs to pass the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen test for obedience.

Any dog, ranging from a Chihuahua to a Great Dane, can qualify as a therapy dog, provided it maintains a high level of obedience. If you would like to voluntary register your dog as a therapy dog, we recommend providing your dog with the required obedience training in order to qualify.

Therapy dogs do not have the same access rights as service dogs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities and are legally allowed to accompany their handlers in most public areas and private establishments that serve the public. In contrast, therapy dogs are trained to provide psychological or physiological therapy to individuals other than their handlers; these dogs usually work in settings like hospitals, schools, or nursing homes. Therapy dogs do not have legal access to all public spaces. Therapy dog access is typically restricted to the specific facilities where they provide therapy services. For example, a therapy dog may be allowed in a hospital, school, or nursing home as part of a structured therapy program, but they are not granted access to public places like restaurants, stores, or airplanes in the same way that service dogs are. If you have a therapy dog, it’s important to obtain permission from the specific facility or establishment where you wish to bring the therapy dog. Each facility will have its own policies regarding the presence of therapy animals.

Registration comes with the purchase of any certification. By registering you affirm your dog as a Service Dog, Emotional Support Animal and/or Therapy dog as defined by the American Disability Act or the applicable legislation in your jurisdiction. Proof of registration is included as an instantly downloadable PDF.

The ADA does not require certification, but it is recommended to have proof that the animal has been certified or registered to help staff and general public recognize your dog as a support animal. By law businesses my only ask you two questions to determine if your dog is a service dog:

  1. Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

It is unlawful to ask any questions about your disability.

You can prove your dog is registered with Service Dog Certifications by using the number on your certificate or ID card with our Search ID Feature.

Registration for any of our support dog certificate packages immediately adds your service dog to our online database so that businesses and other parties can verify your registration via our Search ID service. Our PDF downloads are available for immediate download. Your receipt will be emailed to you within a few minutes and will include download links to your PDF documents. You can use these documents across your devices or print them at home or at a local business.

Yes, you can register additional dogs, however each must have their own registration number and certification to be deemed valid.

No, each registration assigns the service animal to one handler. If your animal provides support for multiple people, you can order additional cards separately.

Customer satisfaction is our top priority. Please note that customized certificates and ID cards cannot be returned or exchanged. Digital packages are also non-refundable, but if there is an error on your order, please contact us and we will resolve it. We only provide high-quality vests and accessories, but if there are any issues, please email us and we will do our best to resolve them. We are fully committed to our products and services.

Find the full details here.

To add your ID to your Apple Wallet or Google Wallet, click the button in your order email.

You can also download it from the downloads page if you are signed into your account.