At a Glance
- Pettable - Best Provider of Official ESA and PSD Letters
- US Service Animals - Best for Bilingual Customer Support (English and Spanish)
The Bottom Line: Pettable’s straightforward application process, helpful customer service team, and caring top-notch clinicians ensured that I was able to receive a legitimate ESA letter signed by a licensed mental health professional in just two days.
Why Getting an ESA Letter Is a Must for Renters Like Me
Do you rely on your emotional support animal (ESA) to help mitigate the symptoms of a mental health issue? As a proud dog parent and ESA owner, I know how important it is to have your assistance animal near you as much as possible, especially when it comes to housing. Having dealt with depression for significant portions of my adult life, I have come to rely on Olly, my golden retriever, as a source of steady companionship. His presence gives me the push to get out and do things, even on days when nothing else seems to help.
My current apartment building allows pets, so I’ve never had to worry about the possibility of being separated from Olly. But as a renter in Boston, the housing market can be unpredictable, so I decided to research the rules and regulations surrounding emotional support animals. I quickly discovered that to guarantee my ability to live anywhere with my emotional support dog, I should obtain a legitimate emotional support animal letter that meets federal and state requirements.
As I am not currently seeing a local therapist, I found that the easiest way to get an official ESA letter is with an online service that provides documentation to individuals who meet the qualification requirements. However, I also discovered that not all of these companies are as reliable and transparent as I would have hoped.
Although I originally considered getting my letter from US Service Animals, I eventually settled on Pettable as my ESA letter provider, and I’m confident that I made the right choice. In this article, I’ll discuss my experiences with US Service Animals and Pettable so you can decide which company is the best fit for you, your unique situation, and your emotional support animal.
Should You Get an ESA Letter?
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) protects your right to keep your ESA in your home, even if your housing provider has restrictions on pets. This legislation also prohibits landlords from charging pet fees and expects them to make reasonable accommodations for individuals who rely on ESAs for their mental health.
An ESA letter signed by a licensed mental health professional is the easiest way to demonstrate to your landlord that you have a legitimate need for a support animal and that your ESA is more than just a pet. Some airlines and establishments such as cinemas and shopping malls may also accommodate emotional support animals if you can present a valid ESA letter—though this is entirely at their discretion and much has changed since the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) was updated in 2021.
What Is Pettable?
Pettable is an online ESA company that connects clients with caring mental health professionals for consultations relating to their need for an emotional support animal. All appointments are conducted over the phone or online, so you won’t need to travel to meet with a therapist in your local area.
If you meet the eligibility requirements for an emotional support animal, a therapist who is licensed in your state will write you a legitimate ESA letter for housing that is compliant with federal regulations, including HIPAA and the FHA. Pettable promises that your ESA letter will work for its stated purpose, or you will receive a refund. They will also help you if your landlord quibbles with your ESA letter.
How Does Pettable Work?
Pettable offers a transparent and straightforward process to get an ESA letter by pairing clients with licensed mental health professionals. There are four main steps to get an ESA document through Pettable:
- Start by taking a pre-evaluation quiz. This questionnaire takes about three minutes to complete and asks basic questions related to mental health.
- Proceed to payment. If the quiz indicates that you may be eligible for an emotional support animal letter, proceed to the payment page to choose your package. Once you make a payment, you’ll receive an email from Pettable with some forms to sign.
- Schedule a consultation. As soon as you’ve signed all the necessary documents, you can make an appointment with your assigned medical professional. They will evaluate you to determine whether an emotional support dog or cat would be helpful as a part of your mental health treatment plan.
- Get your letter. If you qualify, your therapist or licensed mental health professional will write a valid ESA prescription with all the required information and signatures. You will receive the letter in a timely manner (sometimes in as little as 24 hours).
How Much Does Pettable Cost?
Pettable offers two main services: an ESA letter for housing, which costs $149, or online psychiatric service dog (PSD) certification, which costs a flat rate of $199. If you choose to do both Pettable services, you can get a discounted rate of $249.
Is Pettable Legit?
Yes. Pettable is a legitimate online ESA letter service. It has all the hallmarks of a trustworthy company, including a money-back guarantee and a responsive customer service team. The company ensures that its ESA documents meet all state and federal requirements as well as those related to HIPAA, FHA, and ACAA legislation.
Does Pettable Offer a Psychiatric Service Dog Letter?
A psychiatric service dog differs from an emotional support animal in that a PSD requires specific training, whereas an ESA does not require specialized training. A PSD is trained to carry out tasks that assist people with mental health issues or learning disabilities. In addition to their practical role, psychiatric service dogs can help their owners combat negative emotions, lower anxiety and stress, and serve as a companion for people dealing with debilitating mental health struggles.
Pettable offers prospective clients the opportunity to consult with a licensed mental health professional to discuss the need for a PSD letter. If the mental health practitioner deems it necessary, Pettable will issue you an official letter and satisfaction guarantee that you can use for housing and travel purposes, though you will be responsible for ensuring that your service animal has the proper training.
My Thoughts About Pettable
After going through the ESA letter process with Pettable, I feel confident in recommending this service to other ESA owners who want to guarantee their right to live with their support animal. Pettable offers a quick and simple way to get an official emotional support animal document (as long as you qualify for one based on your mental health). The site is easy to use and offers extensive information about emotional support animals, relevant laws, pet ownership, and mental health in general.
Unlike some of the companies I came across, there are no red flags indicating a fraudulent ESA letter service, such as the option to bypass the mental health evaluation with a clinician. Crucially, Pettable doesn’t try to sell unnecessary extras, such as registering or certifying your ESA. Here are some of the pros and cons I experienced:
- Quick turnaround time
- Expert customer support team familiar with ESA letter regulations
- Pre-qualification quiz doesn’t require sensitive personal information, just email and phone number
- Full satisfaction guarantee for both the consultation and the document itself
- Assistance with discussing your situation with your landlord, if needed
- User-friendly site that takes clients through each step of the process to get an ESA letter
- Pricing information isn’t available upfront; you have to go through the initial questionnaire
- Full payment is required before scheduling a consultation
- You may receive some marketing emails
What Is US Service Animals?
Like Pettable, US Service Animals is an online ESA letter provider that offers telehealth appointments and genuine ESA prescriptions. However, the webpage offers other services besides emotional support animal documentation. It claims to be “The Official US Service Animal & Support Animal (ESA) Registry” and gives customers the option to “register” an ESA or service dog.
Unfortunately, these claims are meaningless. There is no officially recognized database of service animals or ESAs.
Paying to register your dog with US Service Animals provides no legal protection for you or your animal. The only document that can ensure your right to live with your assistance animal is a genuine ESA letter signed by a licensed physician, therapist, or mental health provider.
To be fair, if you scroll down far enough on the US Service Animals website, there is a section stating that their registration service doesn’t provide legal protection under federal law. But most site visitors will not see this, and the rest of the webpage implies that registration is a useful and necessary step that ESA owners should take.
How Does US Service Animals Work?
The US Service Animals site is divided into three sections: ESA registration, service dog registration, and ESA documentation (in the form of a clinician’s letter). Since the registration services are unnecessary, I’ll focus on the process of getting an ESA letter.
Unlike Pettable, US Service Animals doesn’t offer a clear step-by-step process. To get started, you fill out a contact form with your name, email, phone number, and state of residence. The website says a licensed doctor will get in touch with you for a free consultation.
If the provider determines you are eligible for an ESA, they will email you a printable document. There is no information about whether the form is written on official letterhead or signed by an LMHP who is authorized to practice in your state.
How Much Does US Service Animals Cost?
You can see how much US Service Animals charges for its various products in the Shop section of the website. Helpfully, you don’t have to go through a quiz or provide any information to see how much the services cost. The price for an emotional support animal letter for housing is $179.99, but the webpage says that you don’t have to pay if you don’t get approved during the consultation.
It’s worth pointing out that US Service Animals charges quite a bit for their “registration” option: $79.98. You get a registration certificate and card, but it’s important to note that neither of these documents offers any actual legal protection.
Is US Service Animals Legit?
US Service Animals offers a mix of legitimate services and extraneous services that provide no real benefit for consumers. That said, the company’s process for evaluating individuals and providing qualified clients with ESA letters appears legitimate. However, the fact that US Service Animals advertises expensive transactions that don’t have any real value places the company in a questionable light, in my opinion.
Does US Service Animals Offer a Psychiatric Service Dog Letter?
According to their website, US Service Animals can evaluate an individual’s need for a psychiatric service dog and provide a genuine document for qualified individuals. Remember that psychiatric service dogs are not the same as ESAs. Instead, they must be trained to perform tasks that the individuals cannot perform for themselves. A PSD letter from US Service Animals only relates to the individual’s need for a PSD, and completing the training is up to you.
My Thoughts About US Service Animals
On the plus side, US Service Animals provides genuine ESA letters to qualified individuals, and their prices for these documents are competitive with other providers. However, much of the website is dedicated to advertising a pointless (and costly) way to get your ESA or service dog registered.
Confusingly, there is a portion of the website that discusses fraudulent ESA websites. It even includes a link to report these scams to the US Service Animals lawyers. At least in my view, this seems rather disingenuous from a company that is making money selling meaningless registration certificates. Even so, working with US Service Animals has a number of positive aspects:
US Service Animals Pros
- They help eligible clients get an ESA document from a licensed clinician
- They offer customer support in English and Spanish
- Their prices are clearly shown on the website
- They offer legitimate emotional support and psychiatric service dog letters for qualified clients
US Service Animals Cons
- It charges money for pointless registration services
- The website confuses customers with a mix of legitimate and unnecessary servicesPettable vs. US Service Animals
In terms of their service for providing legitimate ESA and PSD letters, Pettable and US Service Animals are quite similar. They offer a similar process to receive your letter, involving a consultation with a licensed mental health professional. Their pricing structure appears to be similar, too.
However, I was much more impressed with how Pettable presented the information about emotional support animals and clearly explained the process for getting documentation. They did not try to sell me any unnecessary services and were open and honest about how I could use my letter. I was also particularly impressed with their customer service team and their comprehensive money-back guarantee. I felt that I would be supported if I needed them to intercede on my behalf in conversations with my landlord.
Although US Service Animals offers a legitimate ESA letter service with telehealth appointments, the fact that they sell “registrations” for emotional support animals and psychiatric service animals—which are unnecessary and have no legal standing—seemed questionable and left me wondering whether I could really trust this company.
Considering Getting an ESA Letter Online? Keep This in Mind
Whether you go through Pettable, US Service Animals, or another online service, there are some precautions you should take to ensure you get a certified ESA letter.
First, read reviews online from previous customers. Try to find both positive and negative reviews to see what people enjoyed about the service and what issues they may have encountered. If the reviews give you a bad feeling, consider a different service.
Although I’ve tried to pass on the most important aspects of my experience, I recommend doing additional research before choosing an online service. Take a look at the company’s website. If something doesn’t seem right or if you see a service advertised that seems unnecessary or fraudulent, trust your instincts and choose another provider. You may want to get in touch with the customer service team to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Their willingness to help is another good indication of whether you’ve chosen a reputable company.
Once you receive your ESA letter, make copies of it and save it somewhere safe on your computer so you can always access it. Having physical and digital copies will help you access the letter wherever and whenever you need it. Keep a copy on your phone or computer so that you can attach it to emails with your housing provider. Have it on hand when asking the manager of a store or restaurant whether they will permit your ESA to enter with you.
Why I Chose Pettable
Pettable is a legitimate, trustworthy source for genuine ESA letters at an affordable price. In compliance with the laws surrounding emotional support animals, Pettable only issues ESA letters to individuals who have qualified based on a consultation with a licensed mental health professional.
The information provided by the company is clear and accurate, and Pettable also offers a full money-back guarantee if an ESA letter does not work for its intended purpose. Perhaps best of all, Pettable promises to intercede on your behalf if your landlord is not happy with your ESA letter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding emotional support animals and official emotional support animal letters.
What is an emotional support animal?
An emotional support animal offers comfort, companionship, and support to its owner. Through its presence alone, an ESA helps a person cope with a mental illness or learning disability. Unlike service animals, which require specialized training, an emotional support animal does not need training for its role.
How do you qualify for an emotional support animal?
Anyone can get an emotional support animal. However, to get an official ESA letter recognizing your need for an ESA (including your need to live with your ESA), you will need an appointment with a healthcare provider licensed in your state. Your clinician will determine whether you have a qualifying condition, such as depression or anxiety, and will issue an official ESA letter if you meet the criteria.
What is an ESA letter?
An ESA letter is a document that acknowledges a person’s need to have a support animal. A licensed medical practitioner can issue an official ESA document after a consultation about the individual’s symptoms and how they benefit from the presence of an ESA. Most commonly, ESA letters are used to show landlords and housing providers that an individual relies on their support animal for emotional assistance and thus has a legitimate need to live with them, even in “no pets” housing.
How do you get an ESA letter online?
First, you need to find a reputable website that can set up a consultation for you with a mental health professional. After meeting with you by phone or video, the clinician will determine whether you would benefit from having a support animal. If they feel you would benefit from an ESA, they will issue you an official ESA letter that you can present to your landlord.
How do I know if my ESA letter is legit?
Your letter is considered “legit” if it has been issued by a licensed medical professional after a mental health consultation. This document will need your therapist’s signature, the date, and their medical credentials. They will usually print your document on their official letterhead or send you a PDF copy.
What is a psychiatric service dog letter?
A PSD letter is intended for people who have met with a medical professional and are deemed eligible for a service animal. Psychiatric service dogs are specially trained to provide practical assistance to people who struggle with mental health issues or learning disabilities. As they are service animals, they are allowed to accompany their owners to most public places. A PSD letter can help clarify their status.
How do you qualify for a psychiatric service animal?
A medical professional is the only person who can determine your need for a PSD. To qualify for a PSD, you will need to schedule a phone or video call with a licensed doctor regarding your concerns. A psychiatric service animal must complete specific training to help its owner with specific tasks relating to their disability.
How do you get a PSD letter online?
To get a PSD document online, you will need to find a reputable provider. The company will help you set up a phone or video meeting with a medical professional so that you can speak with them about your concerns. After your consultation, the clinician will determine whether you would benefit from having a PSD and can issue an official document. However, it will be up to you to ensure that your service dog completes the necessary training to help you with specific tasks.