• Fort Lauderdale Wellness

What's the difference between an emotional support animal and a service dog


For centuries, people have trusted on the dog as their companion, aid, guide, and helper. But recently, people have given dogs a critical role to play in their life as an emotional and physical assistant. The concept of emotional support animals has been in the news recently.


Wondering what is emotional support animal (ESA)? You might feel relaxed and comforted when your dog curls up with you, but that doesn’t necessarily make them an ESA. An ESA is a companion animal that the medical professional determines that it provides a mental health benefit to an individual.


The critical difference between emotional support animal and support dogs


Emotional support dog


These dogs provide therapeutic benefit to people who have been medically diagnosed with intellectual, mental, or physical infirmities. To get an emotional support animal title, the owner of the dog must fit well in the medical description of disability, receive a diagnosis by the mental health expert and get a letter that states that the dog provides benefits to the owner concerning their disability. A dog owner can’t decide whether their dog can be their emotional support dog or not.


The owners and the emotional support dogs are entitled to lesser federal protections through the ADA in comparison to the service dogs. The protections to emotional support dog cover only to air travel and housing. It means emotional support animals can even stay with their owners in an otherwise pet-free area. Owners are expected to carry the medical proof, should someone ask. Private businesses such as retailers and restaurants are not obligated to let the emotional support animals in their premises.


Emotional support dogs are not necessitated to receive training to be termed as ESA. Thus, not very emotional support animal behaves well in public. The only training needed by emotional support dog is basic obedience. That is, the dog will respond to the person as and when needed.


Service dog


A service dog is trained to perform tasks or work for people with disabilities. A service dog provides the seeing function for the blind people, hearing function for the deaf or pick and drop things for people with adroitness. Service dogs can help people with limited movement and help autistic children. Service dogs add quality to the life of the person and help in enhancing their aptitude to involve with the world and their feelings of growth, confidence, and productivity.


To get the service dog, you must be identified with a disability and consider what help the person wants the service dog to doand assist them. The service dog agency then works with the prospective owner to find a suitable dog to match their needs and lifestyle. Dogs are trained for a few months before beginning the service. Their training includes basic commands, and public access commands like ignoring pets, foods, and people and maintain calm and focus if there is a medical emergency.


If you want to have an emotional support animal for your disability, it is best to seek help from experts.

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