Can You Get a Service Dog for Anxiety?

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A golden retriever wearing a red leather service dog vest and head halter
DR. Sara Ochoa DVM author of can you get a service dog for anxiety

You may have seen a service animal in your neighborhood, or you may be suffering from anxiety or PTSD and wonder if you could benefit from getting a service animal. These dogs are trained to help their owners with everyday tasks.

Your doctor can tell you if you are able to get a service dog and everything that you would need to do to get one. These dogs can help make a person's life much more comfortable if they are suffering from anxiety or depression. This article will explain what a service dog does for a person suffering from anxiety and what you need to do to get a service animal for your anxiety.


What is a service dog?

A service dog is a dog that has been trained to do a specific job to help its human. It is not a pet. Service dogs can be trained to do a variety of tasks such as:

  •  Seeing-eye dogs: These dogs help navigate a blind person around town. These dogs are trained to cross the street while not letting their owners get hit by oncoming traffic.
  • Diabetic alert dogs: These dogs can detect diabetic issues in its owner. They can alert their owners when their blood sugar is reaching critical levels. They can also be trained to alert other people when their owner is in distress.
  •  Anxiety alert dog: These dogs help keep a person calm, suffering from PTSD or anxiety. These dogs can be trained to retrieve medication or alert help if needed.
  • Hearing Alert Dog: These dogs warn their owners when a person is near. They will come to find their owner if there is someone at the door or if the smoke alarm is going off in their house.
  • Many other tasks depending on what the person needs to be done or what medical conditions that they suffer with.

These animals are sanctioned by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and are allowed in nearly all places, regardless of policies that private property owners have about pets. Your service dog must always be controllable and functioning on its task while on the clock. Many times, a dog must be at work 24/7, depending on what problem their owner has.


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What Is NOT a service dog?

A service dogIS NOT your normal pet dog that people try to take with them everywhere. People who truly need a service animal have to have many evaluations done before they are allowed a service animal. These dogs are trained more than normal house pets and are trained that they must behave in all situations.


Service dogs for anxiety

People who suffer from anxiety are allowed a service dog. This is sanctioned under psychiatric service dogs. These dogs are approved for a wide range of psychiatric issues such as anxiety, PTSD, and depression, as well as other issues.

These dogs are very helpful at detecting signs of an anxiety attack and warning their owners before these attacks begin. These are a great help to many people who suffer from anxiety. If you think you could benefit from a service animal, talk with your doctor and see if they can help you get a service dog.

These animals can be trained to do many different things to help their owners during these attacks. Some dogs can be trained to retrieve medication or water to help their owners. These dogs can be trained to go get help or ward off strangers during a time of anxiety or distress.  

These dogs can also provide physical pressure and attention to help calm their owners during distress. These dogs will also help serve as a distraction and calming agents during anxiety attacks. People who have a service dog for anxiety have been shown to have fewer attacks just due to the presence of the dog.


Extra Benefits of Owning A Service Dog For Anxiety

While service animals can help owners when they are suffering an anxiety attack or distress, they can also help them in other ways. Having a dog will force the owner to exercise more. They will have to keep the dog active and fit, which will also force them to stay active and fit.  

When they take the dog out for a walk will force a person with anxiety to get out into the public and be more social. Many people who suffer will experience anxiety will also isolate themselves from other people. The service dog will serve as a constant companion for its owner, decreasing their isolation.


How To Get A Service Dog for Anxiety

To get a service dog for anxiety, you must be diagnosed by a doctor or mental health provider that you have a disorder or impairment to life.

Your doctor or mental health provider will write you a letter of recommendation for you to be able to get a dog. Not only do you have to have a disorder, but you also have to be able to care for the dog.

You must attend the training class with the dog. Someone will come and visit your house to make sure the house and environment are a safe and stable place for your dog to live. They will also check your finances to make sure you can afford the care of your dog.  


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Service animals can serve many purposes and provide many great benefits for people who are suffering from anxiety. If you are suffering from anxiety, PTSD, or depression, talk to your doctor about the possibility of getting a service animal. These animals are great not only to help with anxiety but also help force their owners to deal with everyday life tasks.  


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Meet The Author 

DR. Sara Ochoa DVM author of can you get a service dog for anxiety

Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM

Since she was a little girl, she knew that her dream was to become a veterinarian. With a tremendous passion and love for animals that makes her a great source of knowledge for others. She lives happily with her husband Greg and her babies Ruby the Schnoodle, and Bam-Bam the bunny.