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Should I Register My ESA Pet in Any US National Database?

2 min read

This question often comes up as many ESA and service animal registries advertise themselves a lot on the web. But, unfortunately, the mention of those registries comes up not only in the media and but in the court cases as well. Some people claim that emotional support animals should be registered in official-looking databases. Are any of these legit, and moreover, are any of these are mandatory or even required? The short answer is - probably not. Probably is the correct word, because some of the databases and registers might be mandatory. Let’s find out which are which.

Emotional support animals do not require any special training certification or registration. In fact, ESAs don't require any registration or certification because, unlike service animals, they don't need any special training. ESAs help their owners just by the virtue of being with them. So, the only documentation emotional support animal might need is a letter from a mental health professional stating that you require one. We will deliberate on it later.

When do I need to register my pet?

cute Dog cartoon character with files
You are not obliged to register your ESA in any national database

There are no mandatory national ESA or pet databases but, there are some local ones. Some of them even might be mandatory. Like a local dog registry. If you have an ESA dog in a locale where dog registration is mandatory, you have to register it. The same applies to exotic animals that are also ESAs. If your local government mandates registration of exotic species, let’s say, an anaconda - and you happen to have an anaconda as an ESA, then again, you need to register it. Pretty reasonable, isn't it?

Register the dog, not the ESA

However, a local government can't institute a mandatory ESA registry. For one, it can be considered as an illegitimate gathering of medical information, and also an argument can be construed that it is a form of profiling based on a protected characteristic, in this case, a mental disability. Thus, if you are required to register an ESA dog as a dog then you definitely should do so. But if you are told to register it as an ESA, then chances are that you are likely being scammed.

Can it be useful?

Microchipped dog
Microchipping and registering a dog is a clever step that helps to find the lost animal

There are some databases that can be useful but are not mandatory by all means. For example, the ones for microchipped animals help a lot, if your pet gets lost. These services allow to implant a tiny chip into a pet, that contains some information about an animal and the owner's contact. Essentially, it's like a permanent dog tag. If you are worried that your pet can run away, you can microchip and register it, just in case.


As we said earlier, all a person would need to prove emotional support animal status is an ESA letter. One can consider it to be some kind of registration as it does get registered in the form of a medical document. However, that is a bit of a stretch. This document is procured from a licensed mental health professional when he or she prescribes you to keep an animal for a DSM-5 listed mental condition. If you ponder on getting one, please contact because our service exists to make the process of acquiring an ESA as easy as possible.

by GetESA

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ESA Laws and Regulations