here are some specific points about the differences between service dogs and emotional support animals:

  • Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks that are directly related to the disability of their owner, such as guiding a person who is blind, alerting a person who is deaf, or assisting a person with mobility impairments. ESAs, on the other hand, are not trained to perform specific tasks and their primary function is to provide emotional support and comfort to their owner.

  • Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are allowed to accompany their owners in public places, including restaurants, stores, and other businesses. ESAs are not generally granted this same access, though some states and localities have laws that allow ESAs in public places.

  • Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), people with ESAs are allowed to live in housing that does not normally allow pets and to bring their ESAs with them on airplanes. Service dogs, as trained assistance animals, are also allowed in these situations.

  • To qualify as an ESA, a person must have an ESA letter from a mental health professional stating that the animal provides emotional support that is necessary for the person's mental health. Service dogs, however, do not require a specific letter or certification.

  • It's important to note that service dogs are not considered pets and are protected by federal law, while ESAs are considered pets and are not protected by federal law in the same way.