Did you know that there are approximately half a million service dogs in the U.S.? That’s a lot of hard-working canines that are making people with disabilities’ lives better.

In addition to services dogs, there’s a category of emotional support animals, or ESAs, that also help their owners.

Now that ESAs have gained a lot of attention in the media, many people are wondering if they should have their own. Are you unsure of what constitutes an ESA vs service animal? Let’s dive into what the key differences are between these two working animals.

Service Animal

First things first: What is a service animal?

It is defined as a dog (of any breed) that has been trained to do a specific task or job for a person with a physical, mental, or emotional disability.

For example, a service dog may alert their owner of impending seizures, remind them to take medication, or provide assistance for the visually impaired.

Dog’s Ears

Service animals can provide their owners with a degree of independence and safety that they might not be able to achieve on their own. While many service dogs are specially trained by agencies and certified, owners can still train their own dogs.

The end goal is to train the dog to execute tasks that the owners struggle with or cannot do themselves.

Emotional Support Animal

Emotional Support Animals are pets that provide emotional comfort and reassurance to owners that have mental or emotional issues.

Many people don’t realize that you can have your ESA certified as an emotional support animal guide online from companies like American Service Pets, which can assist with everything from housing to travel. Unlike service animals, they are not limited to dogs and can be cats, reptiles, rodents, and other critters.

Key Differences between an ESA vs Service Animal Rights

One of the key differences between an ESA vs. service animal rights is how general policy modifications are made for service animals.

Because service animals fall under the Americans with Disabilities Act, they are offered certain protections, like entry to many places that have a “no pets” policy.

Emotional Support Animals do not fall under the ADA, but there are some distinctions made for ESAs that cross over into psychiatric support.

Regardless of their classification, the bottom line is that both an ESA and a service animal can offer their skills and companionship to those in need. If you think you might require one, check your local state rules and regulations.

Ready To Find Your Perfect Animal Match?

Now that you’ve learned about the differences between an ESA vs service animal, you can make the right decision based on your unique needs.

Service animals perform tasks and help assist people with disabilities. On the other hand, Emotional Support Animals provide comfort and friendship. Both play valuable roles in the health and well-being of their owner’s lives.

Other forms of government support cover expenses associated with service animals. NDIS funds in Australia accommodate costs of guide dogs and companion animals, depending on the participant’s needs.

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