Facts About Service Dogs

Facts About Service Dogs

Service Dogs are an invaluable help to the individuals that need them. The laws, rules and more complex nuances of Service Dogs can be confusing, though. There is a lot to learn and we’re here to make it easier.

Below you’ll find a list of some common and even some more obscure facts about Service Dogs.


Service Dog Facts

  1. A Service Animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.
  2. Small breeds can be Service Dogs too!
  3. You must have a disability to have a Service Dog.
  4. Service Dogs are legally allowed in tattoo parlors.
  5. In the U.S., Service Dogs are not required to wear a vest.
  6. U.S Federal Law does not cover Service Dogs in Training.
  7. Breed Specific Legislation (breed bans) do not apply to Service Dogs.
  8. A Service Dog may be excluded if they would fundamentally alter the nature of a service or program.
  9. It takes around 18-24 months to fully train a Service Dog.
  10. A Service Dog is not allowed to sit at the table in a restaurant.
  11. Some state and local laws allow individuals to take emotional support animals into public places.
  12. A Psychiatric Service Dog is a specific type of Service Dog that assists an individual with mental disabilities.
  13. Generally, businesses can only ask 2 questions to verify the status of a service dog: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
  14. Service Dogs must be allowed in ambulances unless they would interfere with patient treatment.
  15. A handler is responsible for any damage their service dog might cause to a hotel room, rental property or business.
  16. Psychiatric Service Dogs are not Emotional Support Animals.
  17. Businesses are not required to allow Service Dogs to ride in their shopping carts.
  18. The purpose of a Service Dog is not for protection.
  19. Service Dogs are not permitted in sterile environments, such as hospital areas where street clothes aren’t allowed.
  20. It’s not always obvious that a Service Dog is working. Many disabilities are invisible.
  21. Service Dogs are permitted in no-pets housing, but you must request reasonable accommodation first.
  22. In the U.S., Service Dogs do not need to be registered or certified.
  23. Any breed of dog can be a Service Dog.
  24. There is no such thing as “contacting the ADA”. The ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) is a law, enforced by the Department of Justice.
  25. Service Dogs can be used to alert an individual to low or high blood sugar.
  26. Hotels and covered housing may not charge pet fees for a service dog.
  27. Service Dogs are only Service Dogs if they are task trained to mitigate their handler’s disabilities.
  28. Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Standard Poodles are the most recommended breeds for Service Dogs.
  29. In the U.S. individuals with disabilities are allowed to train their own Service Dog.
  30. Most Service Dogs love their work!
  31. A Service Dog is not allowed to be left in a non-pet-friendly hotel room unattended.
  32. A Service Dog must be allowed to join their handler during a hospital stay but the handler must make arrangements for the dog’s care during the stay. Hospital staff is not required to care for the dog.
  33. You must have a specifically formatted doctor’s note to bring a Psychiatric Service Dog on an airplane.
  34. Service Dogs are allowed to accompany their handler onto a pool deck but are not permitted to enter the actual pool.
  35. When they aren’t working, Service Dogs get to have fun and be regular dogs too!
  36. Service Dogs are permitted to accompany their handler through buffets and salad bars.
  37. Service Dogs can be asked to leave a business if they are not under control or potty trained.
  38. Most dogs are not mentally, physically, and emotionally mature enough to be a Service Dog until at least 18 months old.
  39. In the U.S. you are not required to have a Service Dog ID. Companies who sell these are usually scams.
  40. Service Dogs should never be tethered to young children.
  41. Some state laws allow for animals besides dogs and miniature horses to be service animals.
  42. PTSD Service Dogs assist many types of people other than combat veterans.
  43. Some states have laws specifically allowing individuals to train Service Dogs in Training in public places.
  44. Service Dogs, Emotional Support Animals, and Therapy Dogs are very different things.
  45. Comfort is not a task and does not make a dog a Service Dog.
  46. You do not need a prescription for a Service Dog (in the U.S.) except for specific situations such as air travel, housing, work and sometimes school.
  47. A hotel may not require a Service Dog and their handler to stay in a pet-friendly room.
  48. Service Dogs cannot be denied access because of allergies. If the allergy rises to the level of a disability, both parties should be accommodated.
  49. Some people use Service Dogs to detect dangerous allergens like gluten, dairy or peanuts.
  50. A Service Dog only assists one person.
  51. Service Dogs are legally allowed to accompany their disabled handler in ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.
  52. Service Dogs are dogs, not robots! Sometimes they have accidents and make mistakes.
  53. A Service Dog should not enter an area where food preparation takes place, such as the kitchen in a restaurant.
  54. There is no quick and/or easy way to get a Service Dog.
  55. There are no laws forbidding Serice Dogs from being raw fed.
  56. In some cases, “people with disabilities may use more than one service animal to perform different tasks”. When reasonable, they may also bring both service dogs into a business.
  57. Protection work is not a task and does not make a dog a Service Dog.
  58. Some types of Service Dogs include guide dogs, diabetic alert dogs, allergen detection dogs, mobility dogs, autism service dogs, PTSD service dogs, medical alert dogs, psychiatric service dogs, seizure response dogs and more!
  59. A Service Dog can be denied if the dog would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods and services of the business. An example would be a specific area in a zoo.
  60. Religious institutions and organizations such as churches, temples, and mosques are not obligated to allow Service Dogs to enter.
  61. Service Dogs must follow all local licensing and vaccination laws.
  62. Fear of dogs is not a legal reason to deny entry to a Service Dog and their handler.
  63. Service Dogs are not required to be spayed or neutered.
  64. Service Dogs may accompany their handler to work, but the handler must request a reasonable accommodation first.

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Service Dog Society
The Service Dog Society is dedicated to the education, training and support of service dog handlers, their friends and family, service dog trainers and programs, puppy raisers, businesses, the general public, and anybody else who has questions about these marvelous helpers. Our goal is to provide as much information as possible, in a centralized location and in an easy-to-follow format. We know first hand how overwhelming the process of getting and/or training a service dog can be, for everyone involved! Our hope is to alleviate some of the confusion and difficulty that is a part of the process.