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The Difference Between Support Animals and Service Animals

The Difference Between Support Animals and Service Animals

Share America estimates that there are over 500,000 service dogs in the United States. Even more, animals have been registered as support animals for their owners. Dogs have helpful and therapeutic properties that can help your physical and mental well-being.

Keep reading to learn more about service animals and emotional support animals.

What is a Service Animal 

A pet that has been trained for a specific duty to help a person with a disability is referred to as a "Service Animal" under federal law. A service animal is the only breed of working animal permitted to enter public spaces with its handler.

What Are Emotional Support Animals

People with mental health conditions might better manage daily tasks or even significant life events with emotional support animals. Because they help a person's emotional and mental health, emotional support animals are distinct from assistance animals. Filing for an ESA permit makes it official that your pet has a big impact on your mental and emotional well-being.

How they Differ

Even though both types of service dogs and emotional support animals assist disabled people, each is a distinct classification controlled by various legislation. When it comes to helping a person with a disability, service animals are trained to carry out specific jobs.

Emotional support canines are trained to offer emotional support but are not obligated to do so. Here are some of the ways that service dogs and emotional support animals differ from one another.


Many of these canines have undergone lengthy training to acquire the abilities required for their jobs. Some trainers specialize in preparing animals to assist their owners in day-to-day activities. These animals must be trained to perform a specific duty, such as helping someone get out of bed, retrieving items, or alerting you to noises and seizures.

For service animals to properly care for their owners, they need to undergo years of high-level training. Depending on the particular service dog trainer, dogs may hone their skills in a specific category before being eligible to work as service dogs.

You can apply for an ESA letter if you suffer from anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD, or any other mood-altering disorder. Once a licensed therapist diagnoses you with one of these conditions and affirms that your pet can help improve your life. It is not necessary for your pet to undergo any additional training. However, emotional support animals are typically better mannered.


A service dog's certification, training, or licensing cannot be demanded as a prerequisite for access by a public establishment's staff. These dogs are typically clothed with a service dog vest as a signal of their status. There is a serious issue of people utilizing faux service dog vests to let their dogs into non-pet-friendly areas.

You must undergo a mental health evaluation with a licensed medical professional in your state to designate your pet as an ESA. A licensed mental health professional must sign the ESA letter on their company letterhead for your pet to qualify as an emotional support animal.


Service animals can enjoy complete public access. They are permitted into areas where other animals are not allowed. They are allowed in hospitals, libraries, schools, and restaurants.

Registering your pet as an emotional support animal is a great way to avoid no-pet restrictions and travel with your furry companion. You can have support animals in rental property

Consider Getting a Service or Emotional Support Animal

A pet can really enhance your physical and emotional health. Don't let housing rules restrict you from having a furry friend.

Contact us at Precision Realty to find pet-friendly communities that will not only allow but welcome your service or support animals.