Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed In Hotels?

The question of whether are emotional support animals allowed in hotels is one that arises frequently, particularly among individuals who rely on these animals for their mental well-being.

With the increasing awareness of mental health issues and the role of ESAs in providing support, understanding the guidelines surrounding their accommodation in hotels is crucial. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of this topic to provide clarity and insight.

Read also: Can Hotels Charge For Service Dogs

Understanding Emotional Support Animals:

Emotional support animals play a vital role in providing companionship and emotional stability to individuals experiencing mental health challenges. Unlike service animals, which are trained to perform specific tasks for individuals with disabilities, ESAs offer therapeutic benefits through their presence and affection. These animals can include dogs, cats, and other domesticated creatures, chosen based on their ability to provide comfort and support.

Legal Framework:

The legal landscape surrounding emotional support animals varies across jurisdictions, contributing to the ambiguity regarding their accommodation in hotels. In the United States, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) recognize the rights of individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their ESAs in certain settings, including hotels. However, the laws do not mandate universal acceptance, leaving room for discretion on the part of hoteliers.

Hotel Policies:

Hotels typically establish their own policies regarding the accommodation of emotional support animals, guided by legal requirements and practical considerations. While some hotels welcome ESAs with open arms, others may have restrictions or requirements in place.

These policies may include size limitations, breed restrictions, and documentation requirements, such as a letter from a licensed mental health professional affirming the need for an ESA.

Read also: Do Hotels Allow Dogs

Communication and Disclosure:

Clear communication between guests and hotel staff is essential when it comes to bringing an emotional support animal into a hotel. Guests should disclose their need for an ESA at the time of booking or upon arrival, allowing the hotel to make necessary arrangements and ensure compliance with their policies. Providing documentation, such as an ESA letter, can streamline the process and facilitate understanding between both parties.

are emotional support animals allowed in hotels
Are Emotional Support Animals Allowed In Hotels

Accommodation Considerations:

Hotels must balance the needs of guests with emotional support animals with those of other guests and staff members. This requires careful consideration of factors such as allergies, cleanliness, and potential disturbances.

Some hotels designate specific rooms or floors for guests with ESAs to minimize any potential impact on other guests, while others may offer amenities tailored to accommodate these animals comfortably.

Training and Behavior:

While emotional support animals are not required to undergo the extensive training expected of service animals, they should exhibit appropriate behavior in public settings, including hotels.

This includes being well-behaved, non-disruptive, and under the control of their owners at all times. Hotel guests with ESAs should take responsibility for their animal’s behavior and adhere to any rules or guidelines set forth by the establishment.

Read more: What to Do If You Are Injured at a Hotel

Rights and Responsibilities:

Both guests with emotional support animals and hoteliers have rights and responsibilities under the law. Individuals with ESAs have the right to reasonable accommodation in accordance with applicable laws, while hoteliers have the right to enforce their policies and maintain a safe and comfortable environment for all guests. Understanding and respecting these rights and responsibilities is essential for fostering positive experiences for everyone involved.

Educating Staff:

Hotel staff play a crucial role in ensuring the smooth accommodation of emotional support animals. Training programs should be implemented to educate staff members about the rights of individuals with disabilities, the role of ESAs, and the hotel’s policies and procedures. This empowers staff to handle requests and situations related to ESAs with sensitivity, professionalism, and compliance with the law.

Tips for Traveling with Emotional Support Animals

  • Research and Planning: Before booking a hotel, research the establishment’s pet policies and contact them directly if necessary to inquire about their stance on emotional support animals.
  • Documentation: Ensure you have all necessary documentation for your emotional support animal, including a letter from a licensed mental health professional, stating the need for the ESA.
  • Communication: Communicate with the hotel staff about your emotional support animal and any specific accommodations or needs you may have during your stay.
  • Respect: Be respectful of the hotel’s policies and guidelines regarding emotional support animals, and ensure that your ESA behaves appropriately during your stay.


The question of whether are emotional support animals allowed in hotels is multifaceted, encompassing legal, practical, and ethical considerations. While individuals with ESAs have rights to accommodation under certain laws, hotels retain the discretion to establish policies that align with their operational needs and the well-being of all guests.

Clear communication, understanding, and adherence to policies are essential for ensuring a harmonious and inclusive environment where both guests and their emotional support animals can feel welcome and supported.

Are emotional support animals considered the same as service animals?

No, emotional support animals and service animals serve different purposes. While service animals are specifically trained to perform tasks for individuals with disabilities, emotional support animals provide comfort and companionship to individuals with emotional or psychological conditions.

Do hotels charge extra fees for emotional support animals?

Some hotels may have additional fees for accommodating emotional support animals, while others may not. It’s essential to inquire about the hotel’s policies regarding ESAs before booking your stay.

Can hotels deny accommodation to individuals with emotional support animals?

While hotels are generally accommodating, they may have limitations or restrictions regarding emotional support animals. It’s advisable to check with the hotel beforehand and provide any necessary documentation for your ESA.

Do emotional support animals need to be trained?

Emotional support animals do not need to undergo specific training, unlike service animals. However, they should be well-behaved and under control while in public spaces.

Can emotional support animals stay in any hotel room?

Not all hotel rooms may be designated as pet-friendly. It’s essential to inquire about the availability of pet-friendly rooms and any associated policies or fees when booking your stay with an emotional support animal.

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