Monday, April 3, 2017

Traveling With Your Emotional Support Animal

Recently, we traveled to Singapore. Sadly, Chooey and the pack couldn't come because we jam-packed all our activities in a span of four days.

Ironic enough, this new post, brought by Brad from TherapyPet.org also has something to say about travelling pets.

Emotional Support Animals are different from Service Animals. ESAs, be it a cat, a dog or even a turkey, help people deal with not just physical but emotional disabilities. This is why people may want to take their emotional support animals wherever they go.

Dog in Suitcase by James Oakley, CC BY-SA 2.0
Some airlines allow certain kinds of emotional support animals to accompany their handlers while others would not be permitted to travel in the cabin or an aircraft and have to be taken as cargo. Since every country has its distinctive set of rules for carrying emotional support animals, it is strongly encouraged that all passengers must check with their transit, departure and arriving countries’ local rules and restrictions on the acceptance of pets or emotional support animals.

Passengers should prepare all necessary documents to show to the relevant authorities for proving theneed for an ESA animal. ESAs have been successfully used in Animal Assisted Therapy for improving the emotional, social, physical and cognitive condition of a patient. Cats and dogs are the most popular choices for emotional support animals.

However, we have witnessed a large number of unusual animals serving the same purpose. These may include lizards, horses, elephants, parrots and even monkeys. The Department of Transportation (DOT) is presently considering adding pigs to the list of ESAs. All of these pet animals are considered important for providing physical and emotional support to patients who need to improve their mental health.

River, Therapy Dog by Oregon State University, CC BY-SA 2.0
For traveling with ESAs, you should know that the following domestic airlines cater to people who wish to take their ESAs with them on board. However, you must possess relevant documentation and you will need to contact the airline for confirming if they will still allow your pet on your route.
Here a few American airlines that allow passengers to carry their ESAs:

·       US Airways
·       American Airlines
·       Delta Airlines
·       Hawaiian Airlines
·       Alaska Airlines
·       Allegiant Airlines
·       Virgin America

International Airlines

Singapore Airlines allows passengers to carry their emotional support dogs on board provided they have valid documentation. These rules are subject to change for different countries in any class of travel. (For example, Brunei does not allow live animals in the cabin). There are certain international airlines that require that all pets, service animals and emotional support animals travel as air cargo. These include Japan Airlines, British Airways, Air France and Virgin Atlantic.

Boo the Pilot by DaPuglet, CC BY-SA 2.0
If you are planning to travelwith your ESA to the UK, you must arrange for pre-approval clearance and a processing fee and get in touch with the appropriate Animal Reception Center. Other foreign carriers may follow revised rules and regulations but they are not obligated to do so.

Generally, the key to acceptance of your emotional support animal is a prescription letter from a medical professional that clearly states that an emotional support animal must accompany an individual while traveling. The reason could be any mental disability, such as depression or anxiety. 

However, patients who have a heart condition can also carry their emotional support animals if their physician believes the pet will be able to help the owner stay calm and reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

ESAs effectively help reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and depression by offering support and therapeutic benefits.

Final Thoughts

Since vaccinations for animals and documentation may need some preparation, plan well ahead of time. Moreover, it may be illegal to import a guide dog or an emotional support animal into the destination country without a quarantine process. Make all necessary arrangements for carrying your emotional support animal on board by learn the relevant ESA rules. 

2 comments:

  1. They are great to have the support but it's sad that people abuse the policies. We had a neighbor that bought a therapy vest online for his dog. The dog was not a therapy dog
    Lily & Edward

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is so good to know. Emotional support animals are really important for lots of people, so it's great to know the rules.

    ReplyDelete

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