How Much Does It Cost to Make Your Dog an Emotional Support Dog

How Much Does It Cost to Make Your Dog an Emotional Support Dog?

For individuals who suffer from mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), having an emotional support dog can provide comfort, companionship, and a sense of security. Emotional support dogs, or ESAs, are not the same as service dogs, but they still offer valuable support to their owners. If you’re considering making your dog an emotional support dog, you may wonder about the associated costs. Here’s a breakdown of the expenses involved:

1. Evaluation and Certification: The first step is to have your dog evaluated by a mental health professional to determine if they qualify as an ESA. This evaluation typically costs between $150 and $250.

2. Training: While emotional support dogs do not require specialized training like service dogs, it’s still essential that they are well-behaved and obedient. Basic obedience classes can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 per session.

3. Vaccinations and Health Check-ups: To ensure your dog’s health and safety, regular vaccinations and health check-ups are necessary. These costs vary depending on your location and your veterinarian, but you can expect to spend around $100 to $200 per year.

4. Supplies: Your emotional support dog will need various supplies, including a leash, collar, bed, food, toys, and grooming tools. These costs can range from $100 to $500, depending on the quality and type of products you choose.

5. Insurance: It’s highly recommended to have pet insurance to cover unexpected medical expenses. The cost of pet insurance depends on factors such as your dog’s breed, age, and pre-existing conditions, but it usually ranges from $30 to $50 per month.

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6. Travel Fees: If you plan on traveling with your emotional support dog, you may encounter additional fees. Airlines sometimes charge a fee for bringing an ESA on board, typically ranging from $75 to $200 per flight.

7. Renewals: Emotional support dog certifications and evaluations are typically valid for one year. To maintain your dog’s ESA status, you’ll need to renew these certifications annually, which can cost between $100 and $250.


1. Can any dog be an emotional support dog?
No, not all dogs are suitable for being ESAs. They should have a calm temperament and be well-behaved in public.

2. Are emotional support dogs allowed in all housing situations?
Emotional support dogs are protected by laws such as the Fair Housing Act, which allows them to live with their owners in housing that typically does not permit pets.

3. Can I train my own emotional support dog?
While it is possible to train your own emotional support dog, it’s recommended to seek professional help to ensure their behavior and obedience.

4. Do emotional support dogs require special identification?
Emotional support dogs do not require special identification like service dogs, but having an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional is often recommended.

5. Can I register my emotional support dog online?
Online registries for emotional support dogs are not legally recognized, and registration is not required by law. Beware of scams claiming to provide official registration.

6. Can my emotional support dog accompany me to work?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not cover emotional support dogs in the workplace. However, some employers may have policies allowing them.

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7. Can landlords charge additional fees for emotional support dogs?
Landlords cannot charge pet fees or deposits for emotional support dogs but may require documentation to prove their status.

Remember, the expenses involved in making your dog an emotional support dog are an investment in your well-being and companionship. It’s crucial to prioritize responsible pet ownership and seek professional guidance throughout the process.