Are Emotional Support Dogs Same as Therapy Dogs?

Published by Carlos Blaze — 03-13-2023 04:03:31 AM

Dogs have always had a great relationship with human beings. Due to their loyalty and friendship over the years, dogs are considered a man's best friend. They not only help you with physical tasks, but they can also be helpful in providing you comfort and relaxation. Dogs are being used in the medical field as well. Normally, they are categorized as service, emotional support, and therapy dogs. Therapy dogs are the ones that provide people with their comfort and affection, especially in some medical facilities or nursing homes, and help them deal with their physical and mental problems. Emotional support dogs help its owner with mental illness and provide relief from the effects of these mental problems. Service dogs provide multi-dimensional services as they are helpful in performing work for you that you are unable to perform due to your mental or physical disability. The roles of emotional support dogs and therapy dogs are often confused with each other. This article will provide a clear description of the role of both and how they are different from each other.

Emotional support animals do not undertake any specific training program or require any training completion certificate. Many animals can be declared emotional support animals if their owners are certified with a mental disability and are in possession of an emotional support animal letter given by a certified psychologist or a qualified mental health person. These animals can include dogs, cats, mini horses, hedgehogs, hamsters, and rats.

Unlock the Benefits of Emotional Support Animals with a Valid ESA Letter

Emotional support dogs and therapy dogs both play an important role in supporting people's mental health and wellbeing. However, it's important to understand that they serve different purposes. Emotional support dogs are prescribed by licensed mental health professionals to provide comfort and companionship to individuals who suffer from mental or emotional disabilities. On the other hand, therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort and support to groups of people, such as hospital patients or students.

If you are struggling with a mental health condition and believe that an emotional support animal could provide you with much-needed emotional support, then obtaining a valid ESA letter is essential. An ESA letter is a legal document that confirms your need for an emotional support animal and allows you to keep your pet in housing units that otherwise have a no-pet policy. It also ensures that you can travel with your pet in the cabin of an airplane without paying additional fees.

At realesaletter, we provide emotional support animal letter certification services that are fast, reliable, and affordable. Our team of licensed mental health professionals is committed to helping people like you unlock the benefits of having an emotional support animal in their lives. With a valid ESA letter, you can enjoy the comfort and companionship of your furry friend without worrying about any legal or logistical issues.

Contact us today at real esa letter to learn more about our services and how we can help you obtain a valid ESA letter.

Benefits of having an ESA

People with emotional support animals can bring their animals to public places according to certain conditions. Regarding workplaces, there is no specific rule regarding ESAs, but with a proper esa letter for housing, animals can accompany their owners anywhere and live in houses and apartments without having to deal with any fees or deposits. However, in the US, after a revision in the "Air Carrier Access Act,” unlike service animals, airlines will no longer be allowed to let emotional support animals as they will be treated as pets and cannot accompany their owner in the passenger area.

On the contrary to the emotional support animals, therapy dogs are given the training to provide their owners with affection, comfort, and support. They assist them in daily errands as well. They are taught to interact with people other than their owners as well. This means that they will be friendly around everyone. To be eligible to be called a therapy dog and receive their certificate, they should have certain qualities. They should be calm and social with everyone since they will be required to deal with strangers and be able to adjust to disturbing situations like loud noises. The testing or evaluation requirements vary according to the different organizations. Therapy dogs can also be further classified. These include visitation dogs, animal assistants, and facility therapy dogs. The therapeutic visitation dogs are usually household pets. The owners of these dogs take their pets to medical facilities, hospitals, and nursing homes to visit patients. The purpose of these dogs is to help the patients with mental problems by giving them affection, helping them socialize, and encouraging them to do something. Animal-assisted therapy dogs are there to help patients with their physical problems as well. These therapy dogs help people with any motor disabilities. They perform these tasks by walking the sufferers through different games so that they can practice these skills well. Facility dogs can generally be found in nursing homes along with their owners. They are known to help patients with severe cognitive or mental disabilities such as Alzheimer’s disease or a schizophrenic disorder. Therapy dogs do not require a legal status like an ESA Letter for an emotional support dog. These types of dogs are confined to their workplace or home and can be restricted from entering restaurants, businesses, and other places. The right of entry is completely up to the owner or manager of the premises to whether allow or prohibit their entry.

After comparing both the classifications of the dogs, it is crystal clear that in terms of facilitation level, therapy dogs enjoy a greater rank above emotional support animals. As the emotional support animals are not taught beforehand, they can exhibit undesirable and dangerous behaviors like urinating in inappropriate areas or growling at people, orbiting them, which can result in them being disallowed from entering public places. On the other hand, therapy dogs are trained in these matters, and they can interact with people as well as other animals. 

Deciding among these two can be a tough task, but if you can narrow down the reasons why you need an assistance animal, then you can decide which type of dog to own. Emotional support dogs can only assist their owners, while a therapy dog can be helpful to a larger group of people and animals, bringing a positive impact to society. However, be sure whatever choice you make, you need to take care of these animals so that they can stay active and healthy to help you. You can take care of them by feeding them good food and making them exercise. Nevertheless, there is a significant difference between both of them, especially regarding the types of work they have to do. Therefore, it is better to recognize what your problem is and then discuss it with a professional who can recommend and guide you about the best choice in your case. 

 Useful Resources

Therapy and ESA dog: animals as healers

Emotional Support Dog Training Guide

Benefits of CBG and CBD in Case of ESA Dogs

Golden Retriever Dog Breed as ESAs - Guide.

About Carlos Blaze


As a mental health therapist, I have approximately eight years of experience. I'm currently working on a RealESALetter for a certification for emotional support animals. If you have a mental illness and need an ESA letter, you can get one in as little as 24 hours.