Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals


Service Animal

A Service Animal is an animal that is individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities including physical, intellectual, sensory or psychiatric disabilities. Service Animals are dogs or miniature horses only. Service Animals are fully protected under the ADA as working animals and are not pets.

Emotional Support Animal

An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is an animal that provides comfort or alleviates at least one symptom related to a psychological disability. ESA’s are not trained to perform tasks and are not limited to dogs. ESA’s are only allowed in on-campus housing for residents who have been approved by DSS.

What is the difference between an Emotional Support Animal and a Psychiatric Service Dog?

A Psychiatric Service Dog is specifically trained to perform tasks to alleviate symptoms of a psychological disability, such as PTSD. An Emotional Support Animal’s presence may alleviate symptoms, but it is not trained to perform any particular tasks and can be another type of animal other than a dog.


Connecting with DSS

Service dogs are welcomed and permitted on the CSUF campus. Individuals with disabilities who utilize service dogs are strongly encouraged to connect with Disability Support Services to ensure accessibility in all areas of campus.

Emotional Support Animals may be permitted on the CSUF campus on a case-by-case basis. Before bringing a support animal onto campus, the requesting student must submit a request and supporting documentation to DSS. Emotional Support Animals may not reside in University Housing without prior approval and registration. Requests for a support animal will be evaluated by Disability Support Services.


DSS's Role with Service Aniamals and Emotional Support Animals

  • Educates students and university faculty/staff of the differences between Service Animals, Emotional Support Animals and etiquette.

  • Keeps records and documents for all Service and Emotional Support animals on campus.

  • Ensures equal access for all students with a qualified disability.



  • According to ADA law, only two questions may be asked:

1. Is this dog required because of a disability?

2. What task has the dog been trained to provide for you?

  • The specific disability does not need to be provided.

  • Do not pet, talk to, or distract a service dog without the owner’s consent.

  • Some individuals that require service animals do not have an obvious disability.


CSUF Policies

  • Service dogs are welcomed and permitted on campus (Americans with Disabilities Act Title II and III).

  • On the CSUF campus, a Service Animal can only be a dog.

  • Emotional Support Animals are allowed as an exception to housing policy on a case-by-case basis and are confined to the housing area (Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988).