What Animals Can Classify as an Emotional Support Animal?

Emotional Support Animals, or ESAs for short, are pets that act as companions to alleviate symptoms stemming from physical, behavior, or psychological disorders. Although all animals may provide relief for their owners, ESAs are specifically prescribed to people with individuals with disabilities diagnosed by licensed psychiatrists or professional medical staffs. The purpose of the animal is thus to provide relief to their owner as a form of companion therapy.

Emotional support animals can range from species to species since the animal serves different functions from a service animal. The ESA does not need to go through specific training, but will be prescribed by a medical professional based on your condition. Pets need to go through specific training to be service animals on the other hand. (As of today, dogs and horses are the only two animals that can act as service animals.)

With this information in place, let us take a look at some of the possible emotional support animals one can be prescribed:

Dogs—Man’s Best Friend

Dogs act as great companions. If you are suffering from some sort of mental or psychological disorder, dogs have been shown to help a person combat that. Dogs also are helpful in a myriad of other ways beyond their boundless energy and love: their vigilance is good for keeping your home safe, they keep you active as they demand to be walked, and they have been shown, through scientific research, to effective at combatting social isolation and stress in the workplace. Dogs are great choices to be ESAs and since there are already laws in places allowing canine access, choosing a dog may be a simple decision.

Cats— Man’s Perfect Roommate

If dogs are considered man’s best friend, then cats are the perfect roommate. Cats are very good at reading body language and act in ways that support you as a companion. Cats will give you space when you feel you need it and shower you with affection when you need it as well. Domestic felines already share common ground in the homes of humans and are perfect animals to use as ESAs due to their temperament, behavior toward their owners, and their size. Choosing a feline companion is a great choice if you take into consideration the various types of cats you have to choose from.

Pigs—Getting Piggy with It

No, this is not the tagline for the new Babe movie. Pigs are actually seeing a surge as household pets for many reasons. Pigs are highly intelligent animals, stemming from their cautious nature due to their place on the food chain. This leads them to do things on their own time. But, by owning a pig, you will see how loveable and charming this animal can be when considered for therapy. Pigs also have a reputation for being somewhat goofy and carefree, which leads them to spreading cheer and happiness to those who are willing to rub their bellies. Pigs are very loyal animals and will become attached to you fairly quickly. If you have the time required to care for one, a pig may be the perfect pets for emotional support.

Horses— Hay Buddy

As mentioned before, horses are often be used as support animals. Horses are still used in police forces due to their high trainability. With that being said, there are many instances where horses are used as pets (in a more suburban setting, it is less likely). Horses are such a force of nature that they instantly become part of the family when introduced. They are majestic, larger-than-life creatures that provide emotional support due to their ability to their nature. Horses are extremely playful and fun to be around. They are also relatively easy to care for, provided that you have ample room and resources to look after them. Also, horses tend to have longer lifespans than most domesticated pets, allowing you to form a long lasting bond with your animal that provides emotional support in your times of need. Having a horse is a good alternative to the normal domesticated pets you may think about getting.

Other Choices

Above are four examples of animals that work as emotional support animals. In fact, there are no animal restrictions when finding an ESA that fits your needs. Look into some other animals such as birds, rabbits, or snakes, which are all portable and lovable.