Hamsters cannot be service animals.
Instead, they belong to an entirely different group of animals referred to as emotional support animals.
Although people often use the terms service animal and emotional support animals interchangeably, they are both not the same thing.
Emotional animals are different from service animals. The laws guiding the acquisition and use of both are different.
It’s important to know the difference between both types of animals, when they are necessary, and when they are not.
This way, you get to pick the right animal for the right job while still within the circle of the law.
Table of Contents
- Emotional Support Animals vs. Service Animals
- Can a Hamster Be a Service Animal?
- Do You Need an Emotional Support Animal or a Service Animal?
- Getting Started with a Hamster as an Emotional Support Animal
Emotional Support Animals vs. Service Animals
Emotional Support Animals
Emotional support animals are pets that soothe and comfort their owners through their sheer presence in the owner’s life.
As such, emotional support animals can be any type of animal whether a chicken, dog, cat, or hamster.
The type of animal doesn’t matter.
What matters the most is your love for the animal. If you have always loved the idea of having a hamster as a pet animal, then it will make for a great support animal for you.
A hamster is an excellent emotional support animal. Not for everyone, though.
But those who love hamsters can easily find themselves stressing less and getting better emotionally when they’re around their pet.
Compared to service animals, emotional support animals don’t perform any particular tasks. Their sheer presence in their owner’s life is all that counts.
They can make their owners feel better by providing companionship.
Service animals, on the other hand, are trained animals.
They’re trained to carry out specific tasks to make up for the disability of their owners. Some of them include the following.
Some dogs are trained specifically to help their owners move about. These are referred to as guide dogs or seeing dogs.
They’re mainly trained to help those who have lost their sight navigate through the world.
In other words, service animals become the part of the owner that has been lost due to a disabling condition.
For instance, hearing dogs are dogs that are trained to be alerted to sound. These dogs will alert their owners whenever there is a new sound around them such as a knock on the door.
These types of dogs are usually prescribed for those who have lost their hearing or find it difficult to hear sounds.
Service animals can also be trained to recognize oncoming psychiatric episodes and alert the owners of such episodes to prepare them ahead.
This can often mean alerting the owners to take their medication on time, turning on lights in a dark room for persons with post-psychiatric stress disorder, or preventing self-mutilation due to psychiatric episodes.
Seizure dogs are trained to recognize and assist persons with a seizure disorder. How the dog helps the victim is entirely based on the need of the person at that moment.
Some are trained to stand over the body of the owner when they fall over, go look for help, or even alert the owner of the seizure so that they can move to a safe place before the episode starts.
Unlike emotional support animals, service animals need training for them to be able to perform the tasks they are meant for.
As such, service animals need to be intelligent and trainable.
This is why most service animals are dogs. Sometimes, horses are used, too.
But dogs are mostly preferred because they are intelligent, loyal, and can easily be trained to carry out repeated tasks.
Can a Hamster Be a Service Animal?
A hamster is quite limited in the tasks it can carry out if any at all. Hamsters are too small to reach out for a door handle to open them.
They are far too little and slow to navigate the streets of a busy road and they cannot provide much information to the owner about any changes in the environment.
There are many limitations when it comes to considering hamsters as service animals, which makes the idea of using them as service animals unfeasible.
As such, hamsters cannot be service animals.
They are just quite too small and less intelligent.
They will be harder to train (if they can be trained at all for such tasks) for them to be considered good candidates for service animals.
Do You Need an Emotional Support Animal or a Service Animal?
Service animals and emotional support animals are two different groups of animals performing different functions.
Getting the right kind of animal for your needs is very important.
Not only because they will make your life easier and better but also because the legal requirements for these animals are different.
Although service animals can also act as support animals sometimes, you may not need a service animal but an emotional animal. But it can be a double win if your service animal is your preferred pet.
If you’re feeling lonely, depressed, or have other types of mental health conditions, an emotional support animal might help.
Emotional support animals can easily provide companionship and distract you from lonely and negative thoughts.
A lot of them will be faithful to you and help provide an avenue for you to channel your love into.
On the other hand, if you have an impairment, like a lost sight, deafness, lost limb, or mental health problems like psychiatric episodes, autism, and epilepsy, you might want to consider getting a service animal.
Service animals have been trained to take care of you and help you live a better life. Getting one sometimes can mean the difference between life and death.
Getting Started with a Hamster as an Emotional Support Animal
Hamsters are great little animals.
Their small sizes and requirements for little living spaces make them a great option for most people in need of an emotional support animal.
If you’re looking for a great emotional support animal that will not require a lot of effort to take care of, a hamster will be an ideal candidate for you.
But when choosing an emotional support animal, you must have genuine care or love for that particular animal. Think of this as having a pet.
Bringing home a pet often means that you’ve had some sort of connection with that pet. This connection made you choose the pet among many other beautiful candidates.
Before choosing a hamster as your emotional support animal, you might want to sit down and evaluate your options.
Will you love to have a hamster as a pet? Is there any other animal you can use as an emotional support animal that you prefer to a hamster?
Having that type of connection is crucial.
Your genuine love for your pet is the real reason why it can help you overcome your depression, mood disorders, or feelings of loneliness.