Do Service Dogs Have To Be Registered?

March 01, 2021 4 min read 0 Comments

A girl in a wheelchair sits at a table and pets a service dog wearing a bandana

Amber LaRock Author of Do Service Dogs Have To Be Registered?

Service dogs are professional pups that offer a world of help to those who need it. Providing a specific skill set comes with special training, causing many to wonder if they need special registration as well. So do service dogs have to be registered to help humans?

In this article we’ll discuss the details of service dog work, and help you better understand how to register a service dog going forward!


What is a Service Dog?

A service dog is a canine companion that helps a person live independently with a specific disability. Service dogs are trained to perform an array of tasks that make their human’s life easier, all while providing faithful support. These professional pups can perform impressive tasks such as leading the visually impaired, helping with day-to-day tasks, and even detecting medical crises in their human. While there is some confusion about what qualities as a true service dog, an actual service dog is backed and protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act.


What Types of Service Dogs are There?

Unfortunately, there are many disabilities that can make life challenging for those that suffer. Because of this, there are service dogs that are trained in an array of categories to offer much needed assistance! Some of the many types of service dogs include:

  • Autism Service Dogs
  • Hearing Dogs
  • Diabetic Alert Dogs
  • Seizure Response Dogs
  • Guide Dogs
  • Allergy Detection Dogs
  • Mobility Assistance Dogs
  • PTSD Service Dogs
  • Medical Alert Dogs

There are many situations and conditions that may not fall into a specific category that we listed above. The ADA recognizes that humans can struggle in many ways, allowing pet owners to train their dogs to fit their specific needs. If you have a condition that is not listed above, you may still be able to apply for a service dog or train one yourself.


Do Service Dogs Have to be Registered?

Registering a service dog is not mandatory in the United States by law. While registration may not be required by your state of residence, it will cut down on any confusion you may run into in the future. With the rise of fake service dogs in public settings, it is more important than ever to make sure you and your dog are protected. 

If your dog is a registered service dog, it will be much easier to ensure your rights when you bring your dog to public establishments. Many businesses have rules against non-service animals entering the building, making registration documents a handy tool. By proving that your canine is indeed a service dog, your rights can easily be protected. 


Where Can You Register Your Service Dog?

As we mentioned above, registering your service dog is a wonderful way to ensure your rights going forward. If you do choose to register your canine helper, there are a few different avenues to explore. To help you choose the best route for your situation, let’s discuss where to register your dog based on your disability. 

First, it’s important to realize that there are a few organizations that offer service dog registration to service dogs of all kinds. These options will require that you describe your disability, what tasks your dog will be offering, and the specific training your dog completed. These options include websites such asService Dog Certification,United States Dog Registry, andUSA Service Dog Registration

The links below can help in registering or finding a service dog for the following disabilities:

If you are ever looking for advice on which company to choose, you can always seek guidance from your veterinarian. They often have experience in choosing the best service for their client’s needs. 


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What Can Help to Identify Service Dogs?

It is not mandatory for a service dog to sport certain identification, but it can make your life easier when going to public settings. Businesses are allowed to ask two basic questions to identify if your dog is truly a service dog, and proof of registration can make this a smooth process. Identification can also help others understand that your dog is currently working, and that they should not be approached at this time. While this should be common knowledge for dogs of all kinds, it is especially important for those with service animals.

Some of the best identification methods for service dogs include:

  • Vests that are supplied by service animal registries
  • Special harnesses that identify your dog as a service animal
  • Collars that identify your dog as a service animal
  • Tags that state your dog’s position, basic information, and their date of registry
  • Badges that also that state your dog’s position, basic information, and their date of registry

These items are never required, but can be worth the extra expense if it means making your life easier. Service dog identification can help others understand that your dog is a professional, and that both of you deserve respect when in a public place.


Final Thoughts

Registering a service dog is not required by law, but can be an incredible tool to make sure your rights are always respected. Be sure to review the information we discussed above, and you can better protect yourself and your service dog going forward!


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Meet The Author 

Amber LaRock

Amber is a Licensed Vet Tech with a degree in Veterinary Technology. Recently she has specialized in veterinary and animal-related content creation and social media management. When she is not working she loves spending time with her furry friends exploring the outdoors.