Getting Licensed to Fly With Your Emotional Help Animal

I’ve needed to get a canine of my very own for ages — my household has a pup at residence, however since I’ve spent the higher half of the final decade on the street (or within the air), it didn’t make sense.

Nonetheless, final 12 months Meyer and I made a decision it was time to deliver a canine into our household and Bailey shortly stole our hearts.

We spent weeks and months coaching Bailey, taking him on tenting journeys, and out on the street. He shortly grew to become a seasoned traveler.

Once we have been making the transfer from South Africa (the place Bailey was born) to California, I made the choice to get Bailey licensed to be an Emotional Help Animal. As a lot as I fly and have put in so many miles within the sky, I get actually dangerous nervousness on planes.

I do know. A journey blogger that doesn’t like flying. Go determine.

I’ve seen quite a few animals flying as ESAs, however I wasn’t aware of get your canine licensed to be an ESA. After doing a ton of analysis and studying extra about it, I discovered that I had a couple of qualifying circumstances and the method to get licensed was pretty straightforward.

For anybody that has met Bailey, it’s straightforward to see how he was born to be an ESA!

Notice: Simply because you’ve a qualifying situation and a pet doesn’t imply your animal ought to get licensed to be an ESA. Should you’re going to fly together with your animal, there are rules, insurance policies, and sure etiquette to observe. I’ll get into this extra beneath!

Right here’s what you could learn about getting licensed to fly together with your Emotional Help Animal!

What’s an ESA?

An emotional assist animal, or ESA, is there to present consolation for these in want or present aid for a debilitating symptom.

An ESA differs from a service animal, which is skilled to do particular duties (like serving to a blind individual navigate). An ESA shouldn’t be restricted to being only a cat or canine, however please remember that some animals might not be accommodated, akin to ferrets, rodents, snakes, reptiles, and a few breeds of canines.

Nearly all US airways will let you fly with an ESA, given the correct certification and supplied paperwork.


Getting Your ESA Analysis with Certapet

The primary and most necessary step to getting your pet licensed to be an ESA is correct coaching and making certain your animal is an efficient sit-izen. I’ll get into that extra afterward.

The second step? Getting the correct documentation and certification.

I used to be residing in South Africa on the time we have been trying to get Bailey licensed, and Certapet made it straightforward for me to get Bailey’s certification.

NOTE: I can’t personally touch upon whether or not anybody on this planet can qualify for an ESA. From my expertise, US Residents flying to and from the USA qualify.

You possibly can schedule an analysis by means of Certapet to see in the event you’d be a match. You’ll have a name with a psychological well being skilled and they’re going to consider your scenario and in the event you and your pet are a match.

In that case, you’ll get a letter of advice (the whole value is $149)—which is required by airways that settle for ESAs.


Submitting Your ESA for Airline Approval

Earlier than reserving any journey, I extremely advocate researching to see if that airline and route enable ESAs. Not each airline permits them, however as I discussed earlier than, US airways sometimes are required to permit an ESA (by regulation), and a few worldwide airways enable an ESA in case your flight begins or ends within the USA.

Certapet’s web site can also be an superior useful resource to go looking and determine what every particular person airline requires!

Sometimes, there are some things you could submit:

  • Your ESA Letter (as outlined within the earlier part)
  • A signed legal responsibility waiver
  • An airline-specific veterinarian kind
  • An airline-specific psychological well being kind (this can be accomplished by means of CertaPet)

Any airline you’re flying with would require you to fill out a disclosure declaring that you’re the accountable occasion ought to something occur. Basically it’s a legal responsibility waiver making certain you’re answerable for your animal and also you’re assured of their means to observe the foundations.

Once more, like I stated above, simply because you’ve a pet doesn’t imply they’re suited to be an ESA!

Most US airways would require an extra psychological well being kind to be accomplished each time you fly. This can be accomplished by means of CertaPet. They’ve a “Submission Portal” the place you may submit the shape to the identical medical skilled that did your preliminary analysis.

Their turnaround time is normally round 24 hours.

Heads up, every time you submit by means of Certapet they do cost you round $49 per airline letter. Personally, I believe that is price it as they actually helped me in my choice to get Bailey licensed and made what may have been an amazing course of fairly straightforward.

Well-Being of Your Animal

I keep mentioning this and I’m going to address it again: not all pets should be Emotional Support Animals. You really need to consider the well-being of your animal as well as the comfort of others on the flight.

I have full confidence in Bailey as we’ve trained him really well. He is calm in chaotic environments, a truly emotionally supportive animal, and a seasoned traveler. He prefers small spaces, has complete bladder control and is friendly and comfortable around all strangers (human or dog).

Make sure that you have your animal’s best interest at heart.

Things to Consider:

  • Is your animal comfortable in a confined space?
  • Is your animal good with other people? (As they will be sitting near other passengers)
  • Can your animal hold its bladder, and for how long?

It’s a bummer that this system has been abused, so please be aware and conscious of this—if you’re getting your animal certified, you need to be confident that they will be comfortable and won’t be a burden or nuisance on a flight.

Dog Traveling ESA Airplane

Make Sure Your Animal is a “Good Citizen”

Going off what I said above, you need to ensure that your animal is well-behaved. Can you imagine being on a flight next to a dog that is barking constantly, or worse, next to a dog that you’re afraid of?

There are several breeds that have been banned for aggression and for breathing limitations. Many airlines do not allow “snub-nosed” dogs because of their breathing struggles.

Not only should your animal be friendly and well-behaved, but can your animal hold its bladder?

Consider flight and transit times—how long will it be before your animal can relieve themselves?

Bailey is trained so that he can hold it for 15-20 hours if need be. He has never been required to hold his bladder that long but he can and will.

We are always prepared with diapers and potty pads which he is trained to use, but he has never needed them.

We know and love our dog like our own child and put his health and happiness above everything. He is a very special dog and has some behavioral advantages that make him well-fit for travel.

Not all dogs are mentally or physically as capable, so please consider this before traveling with your pet.

Which Airlines Can I Fly?

Emotional Support Animals typically fly free if they don’t take up their own seat, though for some airlines it’s anywhere from $50-$200.

Make sure to check on this or if you need to book an additional seat if your pet is above certain size/weight limits.

Typically, Emotional Support Animals are mostly allowed on long-haul international flights, with a few exceptions.

We flew a limited route offering on United Airlines was from Cape Town to the US. Should we ever need to bring him back to Cape Town, we would try to time it to do this particular route again because it is direct.

Initially, we were considering Air France as they allow ESA, however, the flight would have been Cape Town – Paris – US. Because there is a quarantine requirement for animals in France, we wouldn’t have been able to leave the airport.

So, make sure to look at the airline, destination (layovers included), and any specific rules.

One thing to note: flights with layovers might be a great option for your pet when it comes to timing and relieving themselves.

Most of these airlines have size limits and the animal must fit at the passenger’s feet. Make sure to do your homework and look into what is allowed.

European Airlines Who Allow ESA When Traveling to and From the US:

*If there is an airline you’re considering that is not listed, I would suggest Googling “Airline Name ESA Policy” to see what their current guidelines are!

US Airlines Who Allow ESA When Traveling Internationally:

Rules and regulations are constantly being updated, so please do additional research when figuring out you and your animal’s travel plans.

What Do I Need?

In addition to your ESA certification, if you’re traveling to another country—you have to follow their rules. Do all your research well in advance—and I mean months! This is not something to wait until the week before as many of them have mandatory quarantines or titler tests (which require blood work months before).

If you are coming into the US from another country, there is not a quarantine for your animal (at least when it comes to dogs, make sure you check on your specific animal). All that was required for Bailey was an up-to-date rabies vaccine.

You usually need a signed letter from your vet within a certain time period (usually a week before you travel) that declares the health of your pet.

The airline may ask for other specifics in this letter such as animal type, breed/size, weight, and different vaccinations.

The Main Requirements for International Flying with ESA

  • ESA Certification
  • Letter from vet
  • Up-to-date vaccines
  • Confirmation from airline

Items to Bring

Though Bailey is trained very well, there are certain items I like to fly with—for more as peace of mind for myself (and others). I have full confidence that Bailey will not relieve himself on the plane, but I understand that other people might feel uncomfortable if they are flying near a dog.

These are some of the key items I travel with for our dog:

  • Dog Water Bottle
  • Reusable dog diapers — Bailey has by no means had an accident whereas we’ve been touring, however I discover it offers different folks peace of thoughts.
  • An ESA harness — that is on no account reliable or required, however once more, I discover individuals are extra snug once they see that he’s an ESA. NOTE: Do NOT put ‘Service Animal’ in your canine. It’s totally different from an ESA.
  • Travel Dog Bed – I extremely advocate introducing your canine to a journey mattress months/weeks earlier than. It offers them a way of consolation to sleep someplace acquainted!
  • Their favourite toys or stuffed animals.
  • Deal with to maintain him busy—our go-to is a no-hide chew!
  • Melatonin Treats — you must completely introduce any calming treats to your canine weeks earlier than you fly to keep away from any indigestion points. Bailey is already tremendous chill, so we don’t discover a distinction, however we took additional precaution when flying internationally to make sure he was snug. We like Zesty Paws calming treats and have additionally used CBD treats for long-haul flights.
  • Poo bags, potty pads + biodegradable wipes
  • Disposable gloves and sanitizer

I’ll have a full publish detailing all of my different pet necessities quickly!


Remaining Ideas

As I stated above, please don’t abuse the system. The power to fly with an ESA can severely assist those that want it and undergo from nervousness or different medical circumstances whereas within the air. Airways have change into stricter in recent times as a result of of us bringing animals aboard that basically shouldn’t be flying.

So, in case you are contemplating getting licensed, please do the work and your due diligence to make sure your animal’s wellbeing and the wellbeing of others. 🙂

When you have any questions, please let me know within the feedback beneath!