Return to Index
Animals and Your Health: Service Dogs
What Service Dogs Can Do
- Alert people who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of others or to important sounds (eg, sirens and alarms, a person's name being called, traffic, a child crying)
- Provide help with mobility (eg, retrieve objects, help a person to balance while walking, carry items in backpacks, lead people who have visual impairments around obstacles)
- Provide stress relief for people with mental or emotional disabilities
- Provide protection during a seizure and helping someone become reoriented and mobile after the seizures
- Possibly alert people, and their caregivers of oncoming seizures, giving time to stop activities and assume safe positions before seizures occur
Thinking About a Service Dog?
- Cost—Training can run as high as $20,000, but funding possibilities exist.
- Care—Just like any dog, service animals require veterinary attention, feeding, water, walks, and play time.
- Love for animals—Dogs are not for everyone, especially those afraid of animals or anyone unwilling to accept care responsibilities.
The American Veterinary Medical Association http://www.avma.org/
Delta Society http://www.deltasociety.org/
C.O.P.E. Dogs http://www.copedogs.org/
National Service Dogs http://www.nsd.on.ca/
About service dogs. Assistance Dogs International, Inc. website. Available at: http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org/service.php. Accessed September 4, 2012.
Historical timeline. The Seeing Eye website. Available at: http://www.seeingeye.org/aboutus/default.aspx?M%5FID=472. Accessed September 4, 2012.
History of dog guides. Companion Club website. Available at: http://www.muhlenberg.edu/studorgs/companion/ccfaqhistory.html. Accessed September 4, 2012.
Sachs-Ericsson N, Hansen NK, Fitzgerald S. Benefits of assistance dogs: a review. Rehabilitation Psychology . 2002;47:251-277.
Service Dog Central. How much does it cost to train a guide dog? Service Dog Centeral website. Available at: http://www.servicedogcentral.org/content/node/410. Published August 9, 2009. Accessed September 4, 2012. .
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012
- Update Date: 09/04/2012