American staffordshire terrier dog with little kitten and chicks and a question mark

How to Select the Emotional Support Animal?

7 min read

Choosing the right type of animal to play the role of your ESA is a very important decision and it’s entirely up to you which option to choose. Although dogs and cats are usually the most preferable options, future ESA handlers can choose whatever animal they like to meet their tastes and demands. However, making a well-informed and sound decision can be really challenging.

So, what to consider when selecting the right animal? Do you want it to be cuddly and playful? Or maybe you want a not very demanding animal to avoid too much trouble when taking care of your ESA? If that’s what bothers you most, don’t worry – we’ve got the answers below. If you want to understand what type of ESA will suit your needs best, just keep reading and you’ll learn what animals can make amazing support animals and what positive things they can add to your life.

Selecting the right animal: Things to remember

If you seek companionship and support, it might be a good idea to adopt a pet for the role of the ESA. However, selecting the right one can be a difficult decision. ESAs comprise all sorts of animals. From dogs and cats to birds and rabbits – your choices are really diverse!

What you have to understand is that each animal has its own individual demands and benefits. At the same time, the breed of the animal can also make a difference. ESAs can have different temperaments and character traits so selecting the right one is really important. That’s because apart from getting incredible benefits for your health, ESA ownership also comes with great responsibility.

Remember that all animals are different so you should choose the right four-legged companion to ensure your own mental wellbeing and the happy life of your future ESA.

What to consider before taking the pet home?

chow chow
Cute chow chow is not what anybody can afford, its price ranges from $3,000 -$8,500

What should you think of when choosing the ESA pet? The next things may come in useful when you’re looking for the right assistance animal.

  1. What’s the purpose of getting an ESA?

Do you want to get yourself a cuddly friend to snuggle with on the sofa or maybe you just want it to help you calm your nerves? Animals are all very different and may play different roles in human life so choosing the right one according to your needs is very important.

  1. Is it affordable and worth the price?

The affordability of ESA pet ownership is also a significant consideration. This includes not just the initial value of your investment but also many additional costs like pet food, vet services, and other factors.

  1. Will it suit your way of life?

Make sure the ESA pet ownership is something that fits your lifestyle. If you’re busy and don’t stay at home for too long, try to find a pet that will not get bored when left on its own. And you should also keep in mind that all pets need good care and much exercising no matter what type of animal you pick.

  1. Do you want a young pet or a grown one?

Animals are all very lovely and cute but try to make sure you select the animal of a suitable age. Younger pets can be trained more easily but they are also more active so they may not suit the needs of those who seek a calm and quiet life.

  1. Are you allergic to certain types of animals?

Before you pick the particular animal, try to ensure that you don’t have an allergy to it. Otherwise, it may cause more harm than good.

Are there any limitations to the choice of the ESA pet?

A parrot bites a man`s ear
Make sure your ESA knows how to behave in public

In fact, there are a few important concerns regarding the type of animal you might want to choose for the role of the ESA. Despite the fact that your choices aren’t limited and there is a wide selection of animals to choose from, you’d better be cautious when picking certain breeds or species. Here is what you should remember:

  • If you choose a reptile as a pet, make sure it’s not a dangerous or poisonous one.
  • Such animals as horses and other big-sized species may also pose certain risks to your own wellbeing and especially to kids simply because they are large, powerful and heavy.
  • Try to make sure the animal of your choice can be trained to behave well in crowds and in the presence of other people.

As a final tip, remember that it’s always best to consider different aspects of your future pet ownership. This will guarantee that you won’t face any risks but instead will see only positive results on your way to recovery.

Exceptions to the rules: What criteria you should meet

A cat in a plane next to illuminator
Most airlines only let cats and dogs accompany their owners to the plane cabin

When it comes to selecting the right companion animal, you should know that there are also a few exceptions to the common rules that you might want to keep in mind. They include the next ones:

  1. It must be proved that the animal of your choice really brings the right effects and gives you emotional comfort whenever you need it.
  2. Just because ESAs aren’t allowed to public places, you might want to look for pet-friendly areas if you wish to take your ESA with you to shopping malls, restaurants or other areas. Note that it might be challenging to find a pet-friendly place for a horse or other large or exotic animal if only your ESA is not a dog or cat.
  3. A growing number of airlines across the nation have limitations as for the type of ESA you might want to take with you onboard the plane. Too many of them accept only dogs and cats as ESAs.

With that said, before you select the particular pet for the role of the ESA, don’t forget to check if you meet these criteria. This will guarantee that you face no unwanted problems.

What to look for when selecting the ESA pet?

A vet holding a cute kitten
Make sure to arrange regular vet check-ups for your ESA

Apart from all other things you should think of, it’s also important to consider the next points when looking for the ESA pet. The emotional support animal must:

  • Be well-mannered

Emotional support pets must obey their owners and you as its handler should be able to control your pet. This means that there should be no unwanted behavior or too much barking during trips or in public areas.

  • Be clean and checked by a vet

ESAs are often denied entry or accommodation if the requirements to the animal’s hygiene are not met. That’s why just make sure you do everything to keep your ESA’s health in order.

  • Be able to stay calm even in stressful circumstances

Nervous and overexcited animals may get frightened in new environments too easily and this may serve as an additional source of stress for you as its owner. For this reason, it’s important to select a calm and well-natured animal that doesn’t get excited too quickly.

  • Have an emotional connection with you

That’s the most significant consideration! You need to create an instant bond with your pet to make sure the symptoms of your disorder go away. Without such a connection, your ESA won’t be your assistance animal but would be merely a pet.

Now that you know the major criteria for making a sound choice, just try to ensure that the type of animal you pick for the ESA role can meet all these requirements. This will give you everything necessary to take full advantage of the emotional support animal therapy.

Key Takeaways

Choosing the right type of ESA is just as important as all other considerations related to ESA therapy. Different people have different needs so the choice of the animal can make all the difference in your future emotional support pet ownership. Just decide what you need your ESA for and what kind of things are the most important for you.

Do you travel a lot? Or maybe you can’t leave your pet alone at home for too long so you want to take it with you on trips? Do you want to share housing with your pet without any additional payments? All this is possible but only if you select the right type of animal.

Besides, your duty as the ESA pet owner will also be great so never take a pet impulsively. Taking good care of your pet in return for its support will guarantee that both of you stay happy with each other.  Just make sure you have realistic expectations about the future life with your new companion and think of what kind of pet you want to see by your side most of all.

If you are ready to make the final choice and get yourself a little friend, feel free to contact a therapist and start shaping your life right away!

by GetESA

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ESA 101: Educational