• Ahlaysia Benders

Service Dogs vs. Emotional Support Animals

Updated: Nov 2

Service dogs and emotional support animals are both used to help people, but they have different jobs.


Service dog cuddling with child for emotional support

Man's best friend has proven for centuries to be reliable at aiding humans through their daily lives. Within recent years this has translated to dogs being used to support humans with physical and emotional support, resulting in the common use of both service dogs and Emotional support animals. However, due to their roles being similar, there is a lot of confusion about the difference between the two. That is why we are here to help bust some myths and shed some light on the subject.


1 . ) Emotional Support Animals

  • Unlike Service animals, ESA can be an animal of any species. This includes but is not limited to reptiles, fish, amphibians, or birds. Their primary role as an ESA is to provide emotional support and comfort to their human.

  • Due to the limited role of Emotional support animals, they do not require formal training.

  • In addition, they are not granted public access rights when alongside their human. However, ESA is protected under Federal fair housing laws and are not subject to the same discriminatory practices regular pet face such as breed-specific legislation.

  • In the United States, a licensed mental health professional must grant you permission to have a registered ESA.


2 . ) Service Dog

  • A service dog is a task-trained dog meant to help disabled people. The tasks they perform are directly related to their handler's disability.

  • In the united states, you do not need to be prescribed a service dog by your doctor. The only requirement is to be disabled and have disability-related needs that can be met by the service animal.

  • Due to a service dogs role in their handlers live, they are granted public access rights in the majority of public spaces



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