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An emotional support animal (ESA) in the UK is a pet that provides comfort and support to individuals with mental or emotional disabilities. Unlike assistance dogs, ESAs do not need specific training to perform tasks related to a person's disability. Their primary role is to offer companionship, which can help alleviate symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD. ESAs can be any type of animal, though dogs and cats are the most common. To qualify for an ESA, a licensed mental health professional must assess the individual and determine that the animal's presence is necessary for their mental well-being. This assessment is documented in an ESA letter, which is essential for securing certain housing rights. At ESAHQ, we aim to be the one stop resource for everythign related to emotional support animals.

Emotional support animals 101

Feeling overwhelmed with anxiety or loneliness? Emotional support animals (ESAs) have been shown to reduce these feelings effectively. This article will guide you through everything you need to know about ESAs, from benefits to how to obtain an ESA letter.

Get ready for a journey of emotional wellness.

Key Takeaways

  • Emotional support animals (ESAs) offer comfort and help with anxiety, depression, and loneliness without needing special training.
  • To have an ESA officially recognised, you must obtain an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional.
  • ESAs differ from companion animals as they specifically support those with mental health conditions under legal recognition.
  • Popular dog breeds for emotional support include Border Collies, Huskies, Labradoodles, Great Pyrenees, and Goldendoodles based on their friendly nature and ability to provide comfort.
  • You can get an ESA letter through a consultation with a mental health professional who will assess your needs and provide the necessary documentation.

What is an Emotional Support Animal?

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is a companion animal that provides comfort and support to individuals with mental or emotional disorders. To obtain an ESA, one needs to be prescribed an ESA letter by a licensed mental health professional.


An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is any domesticated animal that provides comfort and support to an individual with a mental health condition, without needing special training beyond normal pet care.

Dogs, cats, and even smaller pets can serve as ESAs. These animals play a crucial role in the emotional wellness of their owners by helping reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

Unlike service animals or therapy animals, ESAs do not perform specific tasks; their presence alone offers therapeutic benefits. The distinction between ESA and other support animals lies primarily in how they assist people coping with mental health challenges.

To acknowledge an animal officially as an ESA, one must obtain an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional. This certification underlines the importance of the animal in the person’s life for improved mental health outcomes.

Moving forward into how one might get such an ESA letter involves understanding the process thoroughly.

How do I get an ESA?

To get an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), you need a prescription from a mental health professional. You have to consult with a licensed mental health professional and request an ESA letter.

This letter is necessary for documentation. ESAs can be any domesticated animal, not just dogs or cats, and they do not require special training beyond normal pet training. ESAs are protected under US fair housing laws.

Once you have your ESA letter, you can enjoy the benefits of having a supportive companion to help improve your emotional wellness. These animals provide comfort and support without the need for special training, offering companionship that can reduce depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

Additionally, they help in easing anxiety and certain phobias by being there for their owners as loyal friends.

– Emotional Support Animals vs Companion Animals

Emotional Support Animals vs Companion Animals

Emotional support animals differ from companion animals in specific ways. They provide essential emotional assistance to individuals with mental health issues.


Companion animals and emotional support animals share similar qualities, offering companionship and emotional support without needing special training. Both can improve mental health by reducing depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

They are also beneficial for individuals with developmental needs, providing comfort and assistance through their presence.

Moving on to “Differences”…


Emotional support animals and companion animals have some differences. While emotional support animals provide comfort and support through their presence, they do not undergo training like service dogs.

These animals are also legally distinct from service dogs and assist individuals with different needs. Emotional support animals offer companionship to help ease anxiety, depression, and certain phobias without requiring specialised training.

These distinctions highlight how emotional support animals cater to a unique role in providing essential mental health support without the same legal requirements or rigorous training as service dogs.

Benefits of Emotional Support Animals

Emotional support animals provide improved mental health and valuable companionship. They offer comfort, alleviate stress, and enhance overall well-being.

Improved mental health

Emotional support animals can significantly improve mental health, reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and loneliness. According to studies, the companionship provided by ESAs has been linked to lower stress levels and improved overall emotional well-being.

Furthermore, the presence of emotional support animals is known to alleviate certain phobias and provide comfort during challenging times for individuals struggling with mental health issues.

These animals offer genuine support without the need for specialised training or certification.

By providing unconditional love and a constant source of comfort, these animals have proven to play a crucial role in promoting improved mental health outcomes for their owners. It’s evident that emotional support animals contribute positively to mental wellness through their comforting presence and unwavering companionship.


Emotional support animals provide companionship and offer emotional support without the need for special training. They help ease anxiety, depression, and certain phobias through their constant presence and affectionate nature.

This companionship can greatly benefit individuals struggling with mental health issues, providing a source of comfort and stability in their daily lives.

Popular ESA Dog Breeds

Popular ESA Dog Breeds

Curious about the best ESA dog breeds for your emotional support needs? Learn more about these popular companions and how they can enrich your life.

Border Collies

Border Collies are popular emotional support animals due to their intelligence and loyalty. They are known for their high energy levels, making them great companions for active individuals needing emotional support.

Border Collies excel in providing comfort and aid those with anxiety, depression, and certain phobias. Their trainable nature and affectionate temperament make them an ideal choice for emotional support.

These canines possess a strong work ethic and adapt well to various environments, fulfilling the needs of individuals seeking mental health support animals. With their loving disposition, Border Collies offer unwavering companionship and play a significant role in improving the overall well-being of their owners.


Huskies, known for their striking appearance and strong build, are popular choices as emotional support animals. Their affectionate nature and energetic personality make them great companions.

With proper training, these intelligent dogs can provide invaluable emotional support to those in need. Huskies have gained popularity as reliable and comforting emotional support animals due to their loyalty and calming presence.

Like other breeds, huskies offer companionship that can aid in reducing anxiety and loneliness. Additionally, their playful and active nature makes them ideal for providing comfort through physical activity such as exercise and outdoor adventures.

These qualities make huskies a sought-after choice when it comes to selecting an emotional support animal offering both solace and an active lifestyle.


Labradoodles, a crossbreed between Labrador Retrievers and Poodles, are often chosen as emotional support animals due to their friendly and gentle nature. These lovable dogs come in different sizes, making them suitable for various living environments, from apartments to larger homes.

Labradoodles are known for their intelligence and low-shedding coats, making them an ideal choice for individuals with allergies. Furthermore, their sociable and affectionate temperament makes them perfect companions for those seeking emotional support from their furry friends.

Labradoodles have become increasingly popular as emotional support animals due to their loving nature and adaptability.

In addition to being intelligent and hypoallergenic, Labradoodles make excellent candidates for emotional support animal certification due to their ability to provide comfort and companionship.

This breed’s loyalty and potential as an ESA make it a sought-after choice among individuals dealing with mental health challenges or in need of additional emotional support.

Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees are popular emotional support animals. They are known for their gentle and protective nature, making them excellent companions for those in need. Their calming presence can help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, providing comfort to individuals struggling with mental health issues.

Great Pyrenees dogs require regular grooming due to their thick coats but are generally low energy and easygoing, which makes them well-suited for providing constant emotional support.

These majestic dogs have a rich history of serving as guardians and protectors, traits that make them exceptional emotional support animals today. When considering an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), the affectionate and nurturing qualities of Great Pyrenees make them a compelling choice for individuals seeking reliable companionship and unwavering emotional support.


Goldendoodles are a popular choice as emotional support animals. They are a crossbreed of Golden Retrievers and Poodles, known for their friendly nature and low shedding. Their playful and sociable temperament makes them great companions for individuals needing emotional support.

Goldendoodles also make excellent therapy dogs due to their intelligence, trainability, and affectionate behavior. Their hypoallergenic coat also makes them suitable for people with allergies.

When considering an emotional support animal, it’s important to explore various breeds to find the best fit based on individual needs. Now let’s move on to “How to Obtain an ESA Letter” to understand the necessary steps in acquiring an emotional support animal certification.

How to Obtain an ESA Letter

Obtaining an ESA letter involves consulting a licensed mental health professional for an assessment and requesting the necessary documentation. This process is crucial for individuals seeking emotional support animals for their well-being.

Consultation with a licensed mental health professional

To obtain an emotional support animal (ESA) letter, a consultation with a licensed mental health professional is crucial. This involves meeting with a qualified therapist or psychiatrist who will assess your mental health condition and determine if having an ESA would be beneficial for you.

During this consultation, it’s important to discuss your emotional and psychological needs openly and honestly. The licensed professional will evaluate whether the presence of an ESA could alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, or loneliness as part of your therapy plan.

After this process, the licensed mental health professional can provide you with the necessary documentation such as an ESA letter if they deem it appropriate based on their clinical judgment.

Requesting an ESA letter

To request an ESA letter, you need to schedule a consultation with a licensed mental health professional. During the consultation, discuss your emotional support animal’s role in alleviating your symptoms and improving your overall well-being.

It is essential to request the ESA letter directly from the mental health professional and obtain the necessary documentation confirming your need for an emotional support animal.

Ensure that you have all required documentation for requesting an ESA letter from the licensed mental health professional during your consultation.

Necessary documentation

To obtain an emotional support animal letter, you need to consult a licensed mental health professional. They will assess your need for an ESA and issue the necessary documentation if required.

The ESA letter is crucial in ensuring that your emotional support animal is recognized and accommodated in various settings as per US fair housing laws.

Remember that the necessary documentation includes the ESA letter issued by a licensed mental health professional to validate your need for an emotional support animal as part of your treatment plan.

This documentation is essential when seeking accommodation or travel with your emotional support animal.


In conclusion, emotional support animals can provide invaluable companionship and alleviate anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Their presence offers comfort and emotional assistance without the need for extensive training.

With the right documentation, anyone can benefit from the support of an ESA. Consider exploring the possibility of having an emotional support animal as part of your mental health care plan.


1. What is an emotional support animal?

An emotional support animal is a pet that provides comfort and developmental support to people with various needs through companionship.

2. How do animals become trained for emotional support?

Animals undergo specific training to help them provide the right kind of comfort and assistance as part of animal-assisted therapy.

3. Can any animal be an emotional support animal?

Mostly, dogs and cats are chosen as emotional support animals because they easily adapt to training for providing comfort but other animals can also serve this role if they meet certain criteria.

4. What benefits do emotional support animals offer?

Emotional support animals help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression through their presence and the unique bond they share with their owners as part of therapeutic strategies like animal-assisted therapy.