What is an ESA dog? Emotional support animals (ESA) are fast gaining popularity among people who are suffering from mental or emotional problems.

They provide the comfort, companionship, and affection needed when trying to cope with the symptoms or effects of an emotional or mental disability.

If you’re considering getting an ESA dog, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Here’s what you should know before bringing an ESA dog home.

Are You Ready for a New Pet?

When considering the options of bringing a new dog home, ask yourself if you’re ready to commit yourself to a new pet. Maybe you already have another dog or a cat in your home.

Are you capable of ensuring its comfort, safety, and health? Will you be in a position to exercise the new dog every morning? Will your emotional condition compromise the pet’s safety?

If you’re not sure about any of these questions, it’s good to discuss the options you have with your ESA doctor. It’s true that most people love emotional support dogs, but there are other options available such as cats, fish, and birds.

Will the Dog Fit Your Current Lifestyle?

Many people make the mistake of choosing an emotional support dog on the basis of how cute it looks or how smart it is. Be sure to know the dog’s level of patience, clinginess, and energy level.

Considering these factors will help you determine if the dog will have a positive impact on your emotional or mental health or end up causing more harm or being a burden.

The best ESA dog should match your needs and personality and be more independent rather than being too needy. The last thing you want is having to deal with extensive care needs of a dog when you already have a busy schedule yourself.

Some dog breeds are pretty good at handling tasks on their own with little to no guidance, meaning less work for you.

Is Your Home Dog-Friendly?

Before bringing a new dog home, you have to ensure your home is pet-friendly. You should know that simple day-to-day thing like chewing gum can be dangerous for dogs and open play spaces are critical for your dog’s health. You have to make your home a better place for your ESA dog.

Avoid common hazards with pets by getting electric cords and small toys out of the way as well as toxic chemicals and plants from common places where you’ll be spending with your dog. There are different ways you can make your home pet-friendly to ensure their safety and comfort.

How About the Cost of Care?

It’s important to think of the annual cost of care for the type of emotional support dog you want. A dog can add a significant amount to your annual expenses.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) notes that the annual cost of care in the first year for a small ESA dog can go up to $1,314, a medium dog $1,580 and a large dog around $1,843.

Do You Know Where to Seek Help?

Just like normal health emergencies, it’s important to have the right pet care emergency numbers just in case something happens. Your emotional support dog could get sick or start behaving badly. You should have working contacts to the nearest pet vet, stolen pet, pet poison control, pet loss support, and disease control offices.

Be aware of your dog’s health and look out for common signs that may indicate your pet requires emergency care such as seizures, pale gums, difficulty standing, rapid breathing and change in body temperature.


Emotional support dogs are meant to be a constant, comforting presence in the face of deliberating emotional and mental illnesses. ESA dogs are there to help the owner cope with afflictions like stress, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and autism.

These dogs don’t require any special type of training or treatment.

It’s advisable to always keep your ESA letter with you, especially when traveling with your ESA, as it’s the key to benefiting from all the favorable laws surrounding emotional support animal owners.

Just like other dogs, you have to keep your emotional support dog in line when necessary whenever they’re in public and remember to love them back to strengthen your bond.

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