There are approximately 500,000 service dogs helping people in the United States. Whether it’s due to mental disabilities, physical disabilities, or some other reason, every person with a service dog has qualified for them.

How to Qualify for a Service Dog: A Detailed Guide

If you’re wondering whether or not you qualify for a service dog, keep reading. We’ll tell you what some of the most commonly accommodated disabilities are and how to qualify for a service dog.

Commonly Accommodated Physical Disabilities

Many people with different kinds of physical disabilities have qualified for service dogs. Those who do have physical disabilities get service dogs to help with several things around their home and the rest of the world.

Those with partial and complete blindness and deafness can qualify to get a service dog to help them with navigating the world. Service dogs can help them walk around and sense any dangers that may be near them.

Those with multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis can quality for a service dog to help with their movement. Service dogs can even help those who are paralyzed.

People with autism or epilepsy can also qualify for a service dog to help them manage their symptoms and life conditions.

As you can probably tell by now, service dogs can help with a variety of conditions. There are even people with allergies and arthritis who have qualified for service dogs.

Whether you have a sensory disability or a mobility disability, service dogs are specially trained to assist you in going through life and completing daily activities. These daily activities include seeing, walking, and even picking up things.

If you have one of the conditions above or another physical disability that you think may qualify you for a service dog, skip down to learn about how to get a service dog.

If you have another type of disability, keep reading through the next section. We’re listing a few more disabilities that have gotten approved for service dogs.

Commonly Accommodated Mental Disabilities

Just like we discussed with physical disabilities, those with mental disabilities commonly qualify for service dogs. Those with mental disabilities don’t always have physical disabilities, but service dogs can assist them either way.

Those with mental disabilities like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder could qualify for a service dog. Many people with mental disabilities think that they can only get an emotional support animal, but service dogs can do more when it comes to spotting the signs of an emotional attack and assisting in the process of one.

Those with other mental disorders like eating disorders or substance abuse disorders can still qualify for help from a service dog. They are trained to spot the signs of trouble and help you through tough times that may arise.

Service dogs are also trained to diffuse tense situations for those who have angry spells or violent episodes. They are even trained to dial the suicide hotline on a dog-friendly phone. It’s amazing what these well-trained animals can do!

Keep reading to learn about some of the other eligibility criteria to consider when looking into qualifying for a service dog.

Other Factors of Eligibility

Service dogs are trained to help people with physical, mental, and other disabilities, but there are other criteria that people have to meet when they’re looking into getting a service dog.

To get a service dog, you have to be 12 years of age unless you have a personal history of autism. We’ll discuss those criteria a little later.

Since the service dog is an animal, you have to provide a nice home environment for him or her. Therefore, you have to live in a stable home.

Because of all that they do, service dogs have to go through extensive training. Someone who wants to qualify for a service dog should have the cognitive and physical capability to handle the process of training the service dog. Typically, the service dogs are trained for up to an hour a day.

The person who is receiving a service dog (or hoping to) should also be able to command and care for the service dog. Even though it is a helper, it is still a dog that requires care and attention for a healthy life. This means that you should be able to meet the physical, emotional, and financial needs that a service dog has.

One of the most heartbreaking rules is that you cannot have another dog in the home. You can have other animals, but they cannot be other dogs.

Now that we’ve covered all of this, we should circle back to the autism requirements.

Children with autism that are looking for service dog eligibility have to be between 6 and 12 years old. The child must have a strong family support system as well as a parent, guardian, or sibling that is at least 18 years of age who can serve as a facilitator.

The child must also be enrolled in an educational program and be involved in physical, speech, recreational, or occupational therapy. To be clear, the child must be enrolled in school and a type of therapy.

There cannot be another dog in the home for these potential service dog owners as well.

How to Qualify for a Service Dog

If you believe that you meet all of these criteria, you should seriously consider having a service dog. You should know that the process is considered to be difficult by some, but the process is rewarding in the end.

If you’re seriously considering the idea, talk to your doctor. They have to provide a letter saying that you have a medical condition and your condition could be made better by having a service dog.

A medical professional can help you navigate getting a service dog. Be honest about your condition and share how you think a service dog could help.

Considering Your Qualification

Having a service dog will not immediately fix everything, but it could offer help over time. These trained dogs may help you navigate the world like never before.

Contact your medical physician about how to qualify for a service dog. They can assist you in the process and advise you on the benefits and risks.

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