Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed In Restaurants?

Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed In Restaurants?

Emotional support animals (ESA) are pets that have been prescribed by a licensed therapist, psychiatrist or a psychologist. Unlike regular pets that are often kept for playtime and to keep their owner’s company, an ESA is a part of a treatment program that is designed to subside or minimize the owner’s psychological and emotional disabilities.

Are ESA Allowed in a Restaurant?

In some cases, yes. However, it should be noted that unlike service dogs, ESAs do not undergo training to help their disabled owners perform specific tasks. This is why some public places such as stores, hotels and restaurants do not permit emotional support animals inside restaurants. The good news is that some states have their own set of laws regarding the access of emotional support dogs in public spots. This is why we suggest you check with the local state laws and regulations to help you with your predicament.

Fortunately, in some cases, restaurant owners may be empathetic and may acknowledge that its guests require an ESA to accompany them during all times. However, to avoid inconveniences, it’s best you notify the restaurant in advance while making a reservation. Some restaurants have special policies when it comes to pets. If the restaurant refuses to comply, opt from a selection of pet-friendly restaurants that will ascertain your chances of bringing an ESA along.

Importance of Getting Official Documentation

Having official documentation will make it easier for you to talk to restaurant owners.  An official letter prescribed by a licensed mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, therapist or a psychologist serves as evidence that you can show to hospitals, restaurants and hotels. Note that only licensed mental health professionals are qualified enough to prescribe a letter.

Having a prescribed letter will make it easier for ESA pet owners to gain access in public places such as grocery stores, restaurants and hotels with their pets.  Rest assured the Emotional Support Animal Co. will take care of all the formalities of arranging a letter for you once you have been evaluated by a licensed mental health professional. In most cases, restaurant owners will comply by their guest’s needs as long as you make a call in advance. This way, the restaurant can make special arrangements for you according to your needs. Additionally, the letter will also come in handy when you are travelling, booking hotels or visiting other public spots.

Being Considerate of Restaurant Owners and Other Guests

dog friendly restaurantAlways remember to be considerate of restaurants owners by calling them in advance to discuss your predicaments. This will allow them to make the necessary arrangements beforehand so that other guests in the restaurant are not alarmed by a pet.  Moreover, while ESAs are not required to undergo special training unlike service dogs, it is essential you teach your pet to behave in public places. A well behaved pet will stand a better chance in gaining access to a restaurant as compared to a dog that won’t stop barking.

As an ESA pet owner, you must take full responsibility of your pet and respect the privacy of other guests. If you are politely declined to enter a restaurant, avoid lashing out to the owner and spend more time researching for pet-friendly places your ESA can accompany with you.

Having the right documentation and dressing your ESA in special apparel that will distinguish them from regular pets will help them in gaining access to restaurants. Keep these above mentioned guidelines in mind the next time you are planning on visiting a restaurant for a more pleasant experience.