Emotional support animals: What they are and what their function is

Pets can be the perfect emotional support animals to overcome situations in which we feel insecure or vulnerable.

The emotional support animals are the pets that provide the person with a support to the person when they feel insecure (phobias or fears) or suffer from an emotional problem, such as anxiety, depression or difficulties to socialize.

Emotional support animals are not service or assistance animals, as are guide dogs for blind or visually impaired people or signal dogs for deaf people, who have been trained to provide a service directly related to disability of the person.

It is not much less a difference since it determines what is meant by a support animal and limits its access to certain public spaces. The animals of emotional support are, for example, recognized by the American legislation (Emotional Support Animal in English), but what happens in our country? Can we travel with animals for emotional support?

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What is an emotional support animal?

Living with a pet has innumerable benefits, including sleeping with the dog, and becoming a very important social and emotional support for many people. Although the best known are emotional support dogs, any species or race is likely to be a support animal. They do not need to have certain skills and they do not have specialized training.

Logically, like any pet, the supporting animal must be educated to be trained to obey and behave as it should in a public environment, showing sociability with other people and other animals.

Benefits of having an emotional support animal

The emotional support animal is much more than a companion animal since its support can be therapeutic in cases of recurrent episodes of panic, anxiety or social phobia.

To this, we must add that having a support dog avoids the feeling of loneliness and, as noted by a study conducted by American Heart, helps reduce the risk of heart disease, thanks to the routine of going for a walk with the pet.

Can you travel with animals with emotional support?

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Traveling with pets such as dogs or cats are becoming more common, but it is no longer so when the pet is a hamster, a duck or a pig, for example. American legislation allows travel with emotional support animals, including airplanes, although in this case there are some limitations, those considered potentially dangerous (spiders, snakes …) or large animals, such as ponies or a peacock.

And although it may seem strange a peacock was precisely the animal that an airline in early 2018 refused to board the plane. The Jet Set program echoed curious images of the peacock at Newark Liberty International Airport.

These pets, according to the American legislation, can raise free along with their owners by all means of public transport, including airplanes, although this does not happen in the vast majority of countries. However, the rule allows airlines to limit conditions, such as prohibiting access to large animals, such as ponies, or potentially dangerous ones, such as snakes or spiders. The pet must also have a certificate of emotional support animal.