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Hedgehogs are cute creatures that are growing in popularity as pets. Many people find comfort in their Hedgehogs and seem to have a great bond with their pet Hedgehogs to the point where the animal may even help the owner in various ways.
But can a Hedgehog be an emotional support animal?
Hedgehogs can be emotional support animals if they are registered correctly. Hedgehogs can make excellent emotional support animals if they have bonded with their owners well. Hedgehogs that are bonded with their owners can sense the emotional state of their owners and will act accordingly.
Why do hedgehogs make great emotional support animals? How can you bond with your Hedgehog to ensure you receive all the benefits of having one as an emotional support animal? How do you register your Hedgehog as an emotional support animal?
Let’s find out!
Can Hedgehogs Be Emotional Support Animals?
Emotional support animals are being used more and more in the treatment of certain mental disabilities. The emotional support that the animal offers has been shown to significantly increase the patient’s well-being that suffers from these mental illnesses.
This support is also a big contributing factor for why many more people want an emotional support animal. Emotional support animals (ESA) act as home healthcare for people struggling with a mental illness.
Some doctors may prescribe medications to help their patients manage and overcome their mental illness; sometimes, the doctors will prescribe an emotional support animal to help the person manage their illness and provide the comfort the patient needs to get them through this difficult time.
People battling mental illnesses have reported that having an emotional support animal in their lives has decreased their anxiety, and the animal has helped them fight feelings of loneliness.
This is why having an emotional support animal is of great benefit to most people, and many people feel like they are gravitating more and more towards getting their own ESA as they need this comfort. But can Hedgehogs be an emotional support animal?
Despite the Hedgehog’s prickly outward appearance, Hedgehogs can be certified emotional support animals, and they seem to do well with this job. This may be surprising to some, but hedgehogs can be very responsive to their owners, which is what being an emotional support animal is all about.
So, yes, Hedgehogs can be an emotional support animal if they have the right certifications and you require a small but gentle emotional support companion.
Why Are Hedgehogs Good Emotional Support Animals?
So, your first question was, can Hedgehogs be an emotional support animal, and that has been answered. Your next question on this topic may be, can Hedgehogs be good emotional support animals and offer their owners the support they need?
Well, Hedgehogs that have bonded well with their owners can offer a great deal of emotional support to them. Hedgehogs that have a good bond with their owners are naturally caring towards them and can be extremely intuitive to their owners’ needs and emotional state.
Hedgehogs have been studied in great detail about how they will interact with their owners that they have a good bond with. These studies have shown that some hedgehogs respond to their owner’s voice when their owner speaks to them.
These hedgehogs respond to their owners’ emotions and will even offer their responses and cute characteristics as support for their owners. Hedgehogs seem to tell when their owners are sad or in emotional distress, and they can help their owners through that difficult time through their responses.
It seems like Hedgehogs can sense these feelings long before their owners start to express them. They appear to be sympathetic to their owners’ feelings, with some Hedgehogs even mimicking their owners’ emotions.
So, if you are sad and your Hedgehog can sense it, then your Hedgehog will probably act and feel sad too. This awareness that Hedgehogs show when they are bonded with their owners makes them excellent emotional support animals, and they can help support their owners more than most people think.
How to Bond with Your Emotional Support Hedgehog
So, Hedgehogs bonded well with their owners are excellent Emotional support animals, but how do you bond with your Hedgehog to ensure you receive all the benefits of having an emotional support Hedgehog?
Bonding with a Hedgehog does require persistence and a lot of effort from you, but it is worth it in the end. There are several ways you can help increase your bond with your Hedgehog; the first way is through scent.
Hedgehogs have a very strong sense of smell, and you can use this to your advantage when bonding with them. You can help your Hedgehog get used to your scent, which will make them less skittish around you.
To do this, you can sleep in a T-shirt for a night or two and then drape the shirt over your Hedgehogs cage. You could also sleep with a piece of material, like fleece, that will fit inside your Hedgehogs sleeping area, and then place the material into your Hedgehogs cage, so they get used to your smell.
You need to keep your smell consistent as perfumes, and scented lotions may confuse your Hedgehog and disguise your natural scent.
Another great way to help you increase your bond with your Hedgehog is through sound. Hedgehogs are highly sensitive to sound, and most Hedgehogs will go into defensive mode when they hear loud or new noises.
So, you need to talk to your Hedgehog every day to help it recognize your voice. Talking to your Hedgehog while doing enjoyable activities with it, like snuggling and bathing, will help your Hedgehog associate your voice with enjoyment and comfort.
You also need to get your Hedgehog used to everyday noise, like doors opening and people suddenly talking. A good method to do this is by leaving the radio on for your Hedgehog to help make new and loud sounds less intrusive for your Hedgehog.
You can bond with your Hedgehog through snuggle time, which is the easiest way to do it. Having your Hedgehog snuggle on your lap while it’s sleeping and you are watching TV for an hour, or two will help grow your bond.
You can also bond with your Hedgehog through play and treats. You can place your Hedgehog on the floor in a safe room and sit on the floor with your Hedgehog. When doing this, do not touch your Hedgehog, but allow your Hedgehog to get to know you on its own terms and as fast or as slow as it wants to. You can use treats to encourage them in this bonding session.
Do Hedgehogs Need to Be Certified as an Emotional Support Animal?
Unfortunately, you cannot own a hedgehog and deem them an emotional support animal and have that be the end of it. For a Hedgehog to be an emotional support animal, they need to be certified.
Certifications for animal companions like emotional support hedgehogs need to go through a psychiatrist, physician, social worker, or any other mental health professional.
At least one of these professionals needs to provide support and confirm that the Hedgehog will help alleviate one or possibly most symptoms of an existing disability you have been diagnosed with.
This confirmation from the mental health professional must include their official letterhead and information about the individual requesting the emotional support animal. This information needs to include confirmation that the patient has a psychiatric or emotional disability, but it does not need to label the mental illness.
Some common mental disabilities generally qualify someone for an emotional support animal. These mental disabilities include depression, attention deficit disorder (ADD), anxiety, learning disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic stress.
The certification for an ESA can be for any animal, including hedgehogs, cats, rabbits, fish, birds, and rodents. So, you will need to get your Hedgehog certified as an emotional support animal if you wish to have all the benefits that come with this title for your Hedgehog.
Registering your Hedgehog as an emotional support animal can take time and patience, and you will need to spend some money for the registration process. Let’s see how to register your Hedgehog as an emotional support animal.
How to Register a Hedgehog as an Emotional Support Animal
Registering your Hedgehog as an emotional support animal will take some time, effort, and finances to complete the process of registration. Before you register your Hedgehog as an emotional support animal, you need to decide if you will benefit from having one.
Remember that an emotional support animal is there to help support someone who has a disability like an emotional distress condition or a mental illness. Recognizing that you may have a condition that may benefit from an emotional support animal is the first step.
The second step is to set up an appointment with a certified mental health professional for an evaluation. You need to do this as your Hedgehog cannot be a registered emotional support animal without the backing of a mental health professional stating that you require one.
If the mental health professional thinks you could benefit from an emotional support animal, they will write you a letter certifying that you require one.
Ensure this letter has the mental health professional’s letterhead, that it has the provider’s license number on it, and that the letter is dated and signed by the provider. Ensure that the letter clearly explains your need for an emotional support animal.
If you don’t have a mental health provider, you can find one in your area or use an online ESA letter service, like ESA Doctors or Emotional Pet Support. With both of these options, you will need to do a mental health evaluation, and they will both cost you some money.
The fees will be dependent on which mental health provider you use. Once you have the letter stating that you need an emotional support animal, your Hedgehog is now your emotional support animal.
You should keep your letter readily available and take it with you to any location where you may take your Hedgehog, as you may be asked to prove that your Hedgehog is your emotional support animal, and this letter will suffice.
Laws and Rules Around Emotional Support Hedgehogs
ESAs and their owners have certain legal rights above those of typical pets and caregivers. For instance, having an emotional support animal will serve as a way to circumvent a no-pets policy in a rental unit in an apartment block.
If your animal is a registered emotional support animal, and your landlord has seen your ESA letter, they must, by law, make certain changes to accommodate you and your emotional support animal.
Emotional support animals are generally allowed to travel by plane without a carrier or an added fee. However, you need to check with the specific airline you wish to travel with, as some have specific rules about hedgehogs over concerns for other passengers’ safety.
It is important to note that due to an emotional support animal not having extensive training, they do not have the same rights as a service animal.
How Are Emotional Support Animals Different from Service Animals?
It is common for the terms service animal and emotional support animal to be used interchangeably by certain people. However, these two types of certified animals are very different from each other, and we should not get the two confused.
An emotional support animal provides therapeutic and emotional support for its owner; therefore, this animal can be almost any type of animal. In contrast, a service animal is an animal that has been trained to perform certain tasks for people who have disabilities and can therefore only be specific animals like a dog.
A good example of a service animal is a seeing-eye dog for people who are blind. It is important to understand this difference, as it is illegal to misrepresent your emotional support animal as a service animal.
This is because service animals receive a high amount of training that emotional support animals are not required to have. So, if your emotional support animal misbehaves while you are passing it off as a service animal, this can make it more difficult for actual service animals to go where they are needed freely.
Hedgehogs are small and cuddly animals that can be emotional support animals if registered as one. These little creatures can be excellent emotional support animals if you have a good bond with them. Registering your Hedgehog as an ESA can take time and money, but if you need an ESA, then it is worth it. Good luck registering your Hedgehog as an ESA!