From Planes to Your Apartment: Should Emotional Support Pets Be Allowed?

Emotional support pets are animals that provide comfort and companionship to people with emotional or mental health issues. They can make a big difference in their owners’ lives by helping to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress.

But should emotional support pets be allowed in places like airplanes and apartments? This article explores the benefits and challenges of allowing emotional support pets in different settings and explains how to get an ESA letter for your dog.

What Are Emotional Support Pets?

Emotional support pets are animals that help their owners manage their emotions. Unlike service animals, which are trained to perform specific tasks, emotional support pets provide comfort just by being with their owners.

  • Emotional Comfort: They can help reduce feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression.
  • Companionship: They provide a sense of companionship and unconditional love.
  • Routine and Structure: Caring for a pet can give owners a daily routine, which can be helpful for mental health.

Emotional Support Pets on Planes

The Benefits
  • Reduced Anxiety During Travel: Many people find flying stressful. Having their emotional support pet with them can make the experience less anxiety-inducing.
  • Companionship: Long flights can be lonely, and having a pet provides comfort.
The Challenges
  • Allergies: Some passengers may be allergic to animals.
  • Behavior Issues: Not all pets are well-behaved in confined spaces like an airplane cabin.
  • Regulations: Different airlines have different rules about emotional support animals. Some may require documentation, while others may not allow them at all.
Current Rules
  • Documentation: Most airlines require an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional. This letter should state that you have a mental or emotional disability and that your pet is part of your treatment.
  • Advance Notice: It’s important to notify the airline in advance if you plan to travel with an emotional support pet.

Emotional Support Pets in Apartments

The Benefits
  • Emotional Support at Home: Having your pet with you at all times can provide constant emotional support.
  • Improved Mental Health: Pets can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Companionship: Pets provide friendship and can help people feel less lonely.
The Challenges
  • Pet Restrictions: Some apartments have strict no-pet policies.
  • Allergies: Neighbors may be allergic to animals.
  • Property Damage: Pets can sometimes cause damage to the apartment.
Legal Rights
  • Fair Housing Act: The Fair Housing Act (FHA) allows people with disabilities to keep emotional support animals in their homes, even in housing with no-pet policies. You will need an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional to qualify.
  • Documentation: You need to provide your landlord with an ESA letter stating that you need your pet for emotional support.

How to Get an ESA Letter for Your Dog

Step-by-Step Process
  1. Consult a Mental Health Professional: Talk to a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist about your need for an emotional support animal. They will assess your situation.
  2. Get a Written Recommendation: If the professional believes an ESA will help you, they will write a letter. This letter should state that you have a mental or emotional disability and that an ESA is part of your treatment plan.
  3. Ensure the Letter Includes Important Details: The letter should include the professional’s license information, the date, and a statement confirming your need for an emotional support animal.
  4. Use Reputable Services: If you don’t have access to a mental health professional, some legitimate online services can connect you with licensed professionals who can evaluate you and issue an ESA letter if appropriate.
  5. Understand Your Rights: With an ESA letter, you have the right to live with your emotional support animal even in housing that doesn’t typically allow pets. You can also travel with your ESA, but make sure to check airline policies as they can vary.


Emotional support pets can provide significant benefits to their owners, helping to reduce anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Allowing these pets on planes and in apartments can greatly improve the quality of life for people who need them. However, it’s essential to balance these benefits with the potential challenges, such as allergies and behavior issues.

To have an emotional support pet with you in places like airplanes and apartments, you will need an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional. This letter proves that your pet is necessary for your emotional well-being. If you believe an emotional support pet can help you, talk to a mental health professional about getting an ESA letter. This way, you can legally have your pet with you for support and comfort, whether you’re at home or traveling.


More Resources:


A Complete Guide to Emotional Support Dog Breeds

10 Medium-Sized Dog Breeds to Fit Any Family Guide 2024

The Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Animal