How to Certify a Dog as an Emotional Support Animal

How to certify a dog as an emotional support animal: This is what you need to certify your pet as an emotional support animal and can travel with you on a flight.

How to certify a dog as an emotional support animal

If you are going through a difficult time and need to travel, doing it with your pet can make the difference between a good trip and a difficult experience. Emotional support animals have become faithful companions for people suffering from stress and anxiety when flying, and more and more people are looking for ways to do it. Here’s what you need to certify your pet as an emotional support animal.

What Is an Emotional Support Dog or Pet?

Emotional Support Dog

The air carrier access act service animal (ACAA) defines an emotional support animal as:

“A dog, regardless of breed or type, that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Animal species other than dogs, emotional support animals, comfort animals, companionship animals, and service animals in training are not service animals.”ACAA

Thanks to their company, puppies and kittens can make people feel better.

Benefits of Emotional Support Dog

Many studies have shown that pets help their owners with depression and anxiety. In extreme cases, they even help certain calm phobias.

Benefits of Emotional Support Dog

  • This is why more and more airlines are allowing owners to fly to do so with their furry companions close by.
  • The airlines themselves, some shopping malls and restaurants are changing their policies to allow emotional support animals.
  • These pets are very important for people who suffer from illnesses such as depression, anxiety and adjustment disorders.
  • Emotional support animals are essential for a disabled person.

Travelling With an Emotional Support Dog

Nowadays, more and more airlines are choosing to adjust their policies and allow you to travel with your emotional support animal at no additional cost. USA airlines allow pets such as dogs and cats inside their cabins.

Travelling With an Emotional Support Dog

The most frequently asked question among travellers is whether the animals need any special training in order to be admitted on the flight. None of the airlines has indicated that any type of training is necessary, but we recommend that your pet learn to follow the basic commands in order to avoid accidents that interrupt the flight.

In addition, you should consider that if your pet, be it a dog or a cat, is aggressive; for example, if it bites and cannot remain calm; It will hardly be accepted as an emotional support animal since instead of bringing you tranquillity and calm, it can bring you more stress.

Why Get Certified?

Having a Certification with the highest standards of approval will allow you free access without any questioning; however, it should not be forgotten that many people still do not distinguish between a pet and a service dog.

We seek that with the Certification, more people can understand the difference and do not have the need to question the Members. Every Certified person is a Member, and if they are Certified with a Service Dog, they can enjoy the benefits that it offers them.

Dogs that are Good Citizens do not enjoy these benefits.

How to Certify a Dog as an Emotional Support Animal

According to the main airlines, this is what you need to certify your dog as an emotional support animal.

  • A health specialist must issue the certification, be it a psychologist, psychiatrist or the doctor in charge of your mental, emotional or intellectual health.
  • The certificate must be a letterhead document to which the data of the mental health professional is added, such as name, professional license and speciality, as well as the date of issue of the certificate.
  • The certificate must have been issued recently and will be valid if issued a maximum of one year before the flight date.
  • The document must indicate that the passenger is under the care of a mental health professional and that they require their pet for emotional support to fly by plane.

How Do You Know if You Need an Emotional Support Dog?

In the world, almost a quarter of the population has a phobia. Dogs serve as emotional support aids, providing company and support in difficult situations.

More and more people are turning to this form of therapy, and there are already more than 20,000 dogs that have travelled by plane under this modality.

How to Travel by Plane With an Emotional Support Dog?

To travel by plane with an emotional support pet, it is mandatory to present a medical certificate that proves it.

  • In order for your pet to be considered as such, it needs to meet a series of requirements.
  • If your pet meets all the requirements, they can go in the cabin sitting next to you.
  • In addition, depending on the legislation of each country, these pets can travel with their owners on all public means of transport and in schools, shops, hospitals, etc.
  • In addition to being trained, the pet must be docile and sociable.

Requirements for Air Travel With an Emotional Support Dog

In some airlines like Avianca, they ask you that the pet meets certain conditions:

  • It can weigh up to 8 kg and have a maximum height of 20 cm.
  • The animal must remain in a waterproof fabric bag with holes during the flight.
  • Only one pet per person can fly.
  • The measurements of the briefcase should be 40.6 cm long + 27.9 cm wide + 20.3 cm high.
  • As you travel, place your pet under the seat in front of you.
  • The transport of pets in the cabin is subject to space availability.

Travelling With Your Emotional Support Pet in Latam: Requirements and Routes

Check here the requirements and authorized LATAM routes to travel with an emotional support pet.

Who Can Have an Emotional Service Dog?

People and institutions that require it, as long as they have the conditions that prove their need. Individuals must prove their need through a Medical Certificate issued by a Physician or Psychiatrist, accompanied by their professional license, except for Safeguard cases in which a free document must be submitted stating the reasons why they are required and must be signed by the Handler.

What Is the Difference Between an Emotional Service Animal and an Assistance Animal?

There is no difference; they are the same; it is just a different way of calling them. However, Assistance Dogs are generally referred to as Medical Service Dogs, which classify them as Guide Dogs, Signal Dogs, Assistance Dogs for Restricted Mobility.

Medical Alert Dogs, and Dogs for People with Autism, among others, are difficult to understand and very archaic classifications divided into many types. In our opinion separates and is not inclusive.

However, in AMAS, the difference is that Service Dogs are all those that are Certified, and Assistance Dogs are Dogs trained for medical conditions. We have simplified the types of Certifications to be more inclusive so that more people can better understand.

How Many Emotional Service Dogs Can I Certify?

The number will depend on several factors:

  • Assistance dogs (medical): As a general rule, only ONE dog per person may be certified; in case of retirement, one year prior to retirement, you may have a dog in additional training in case of multiple disabilities or multiple medical conditions detected by smell, you may have according to the needs of the person. Example: a person with diabetes and seizures, a person with visual and hearing impairment (a guide dog and a signal dog).
  • IAA Dogs (therapy dog): You can register several one institutions or one handler.
  • Safeguard Dog: One per person.
  • Rescue dog: You can register one or several an institution or manage

Who Can Request My Sensitive Personal Data?

Only the authority may request information from the Member. It is at the discretion of the Member to access his user account with his password to show his sensitive data, in case there is no formal written requirement.

Example of an Emotional Support Dog Form Pdf

Here you can download the emotional support pet certificate model in PDF format (file under registration).

In addition to the certificate, Airlines ask that your pet have a vaccination card and good health certificates and have the rabies vaccine to avoid any incident.


Live in the United States with your doctor’s letter. You can go to one of the following sites and register your pet so that they send you back a credential that can be used to identify it in places where they ask you if it is an emotional support dog (like an airplane). 

Still, if you don’t live in the United States but plan to fly with your dog, bring your doctor’s letter with you so you can prove that your pet is an emotional support animal. 

If you plan to travel with your dog, Interjet accepts emotional support animals in the cabin so that you can go on adventures together and not be afraid to fly alone.