Emotional support animals( (ESAs) allow sufferers of PTSD and anxiety disorders to socialize and go about their daily lives. They provide you with a measure of calm and confidence you may otherwise not enjoy.

Unlike registered service and guide dogs, ESAs are not always welcomed onto business premises. Fortunately, more and more places are starting to allow entry to emotional support animals, and some of them may be unknown to you.

To help you find them, we compiled this list of 10 surprising places that allow emotional support animals. Please note, most establishments have the right to refuse ESA entry, except those subject to the Fair Housing Act. So, it’s good to know where your ESA will be welcome.

1) College Dorms And Other Student Housing
College dorms are required to accommodate students who need their ESAs to live with them. However, some colleges have unique requirements regarding the presence of emotional support animals. To avoid unwanted consequences, check the rules regarding ESAs of your specific college.

2) Airplane Cabins
Should you need to travel by air, you’ll be relieved to know that your emotional support animal can fly with you. That said, they will have to meet the airline’s restrictions for pets to be allowed in the cabin. For example, you may have to keep your ESA in a small carry-on bag. You may also have to pay an additional pet travel fee. Be sure to check with your airline before booking a flight.

3) Shopping Malls
Trained psychiatric service dogs and guide dogs are allowed in all shopping malls and emotional support animals may be allowed in certain shopping malls as well. But it is best to first check with the relevant mall as to their regulations.

4) Department Stores
Whether or not a department store allows your ESA access may depend on the type of animal you rely on for support. For example, a harness, leash, or special carrier may be necessary, depending on the type of animal.

5) Apple
Most Apple stores are happy to allow you to take your emotional support animal inside with you. If your ESA is a dog, it is more likely than with another animal. But, they are more accepting of ESAs than most other businesses.

6) Nordstrom 
Many Nordstrom stores allow you entrance with an emotional support animal. The best way to check is to visit the store’s website or call the customer service number. Also, with anchor stores, it is important to know the mall’s rules regarding ESAs while doing your research.

7) Hardware Stores
Many hardware stores allow you to take your ESA with you onto the premises. Of course, always keep your dog on a leash or your other pet in a contained space so as not to disturb the other store visitors.

8) Restoration Hardware
As with general hardware stores, you should first check with the owner or manager of the particular establishment. Typically, these stores are open to dogs in particular. However, they may have some size, leash, or behavior requirements.

9) Outdoor Supply Stores
Dogs make excellent outdoor companies for most adventures. Therefore, you will likely be able to take your ESA with you when visiting outdoor supply stores where the owners and staff are likely to be just as enthusiastic about their pets as you are. 

10) Outdoor Restaurants
While indoor seating at restaurants are not open to your emotional support animal for health reasons, outdoor seating is almost always an option. Most outdoor restaurants allow you to sit with your ESA and many even keep water bowls on hand.

Where Are Emotional Support Animals Not Allowed?
ESAs may be refused entry to:

1) Schools And Classrooms
ESAs do not have a legal right to attend school classrooms. But, you can check with your school to see if they have their own policy regarding emotional support animals. Keep in mind private schools, co-ops, and charter schools may be more accomodating.

2) Office Environments
Emotional support animals are generally not allowed in office buildings. However, in some instances, the business owner may allow it. Contact the company ahead of time to learn about their policies regarding ESAs.

3) Indoor Dining Establishments
As mentioned above, emotional support animals do not enjoy the same level of access as guide dogs or psychiatric service dogs due to health risks and regulations. Any restaurant has the right to accept or deny admission of your ESA on the premises. Outdoor dining venues, such as patio dining, on the other hand, are usually great places to bring your well-behaved ESAs.

4) Grocery Stores
As with most other businesses, grocery stores do not generally allow ESAs to enter the premises. They are under no legal obligation to do so.

5) Clothing And Other Stores
Some stores may allow ESAs and other animals as a courtesy, but it is within their right to refuse. Target and Walmart, for example, do not allow ESAs in their stores.

The Main Takeaway

Businesses are not typically mandated to grant admission to an ESA. However, as the need for emotional support for animals becomes more recognized in society, many businesses are allowing, and even encouraging in some cases, customers to bring their furry friends inside for a visit. If you are unsure of the company’s policies, always check with the relevant establishment beforehand. To locate a dog in the Volusia County, Florida area who will offer that unconditional love and support, visit our adoption page to see some of the cutest tail-waggers around!