Emotional support animals provide aid to individuals with psychiatric, physical, or intellectual disabilities that may interfere with their ability to navigate the world. In order to obtain an emotional support animal and necessary documentation, you must have an official Emotional Support Animal Letter written by a licensed mental health professional—a psychiatrist, licensed clinical social worker, or psychologist. Typical qualifying conditions include, but are not limited to: PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic disorder/panic attacks, mood disorders, personality disorders, social anxiety disorder, fear/phobias, and seasonal affective disorder.
These animals do not need specific training to become an emotional support animal. In fact, these animals are rarely regarded as “service animals”–many modes of transport consider them to be companion animals. As a result, some airlines, trains, and other modes of public transportation may not extend service animal policies to your emotional support pet. If you plan to travel, it is always necessary to check eligibility ahead of time.
Though typically dogs, emotional support animals can be cats or other species. Choosing an emotional support animal can be an exciting experience, but keep potential travel restrictions in mind during your selection process. If certain transportation providers do not consider emotional support animals to provide a service, you should choose a companion who fits the standard requirements for safe pet travel. In most cases, this will allow you to bring an animal along in a carrier; you may have to pay a standard pet fee, but your animal’s size will not prevent him from traveling.
To that end, selecting a pygmy pet as an emotional support animal is an excellent option. Their small size allows them to enter most spaces and modes of transportation, but they are able to perform all necessary emotional support functions. Pygmy animals are also known for their friendliness and calm demeanor, which is always helpful in an emotional support animal. However, be sure to select a travel-friendly species, such as a cat or dog. Airlines and trains have strict species and breed restrictions which may interfere with your animal’s ability to travel—even if their pygmy size fits within weight and height limitations. Pygmy rabbits, for example, are popular emotional support animals, but they are banned on most airlines. In checking a transit provider’s pet and service animal policy, you are more able to select an appropriate emotional support animal.