Psychiatric Service Dogs

Does Your Dog Qualify to Become a Psychiatric Service Dog?

If your dog is already registered as an emotional support animal, then you already enjoy the benefits of being able to live with your support animal regardless of your apartment’s pet policy or pet fees. However, if it would be helpful for you to also be able to take your emotional support dog out in public with you and also be able to travel with them, then you may want to look into whether or not they qualify to be a psychiatric service dog.

What is a Psychiatric Service Dog?

A psychiatric service dog is defined as a dog that is trained to perform a task to benefit an individual with a mental illness. Similarly to the way a seeing eye service dog guides a person with a physical disability around, psychiatric service dogs aid individuals with mental health issues.

Psychiatric Service Dog Tasks

Your dog can be trained to do a number of tasks that will help it qualify as a psychiatric service dog. Some of these tasks include interrupting panic attacks, waking up an individual from nightmares, nudging or climbing on someone having a PTSD flashback to bring them back to the present, standing on top of someone to give deep pressure point therapy for anxiety, forcing individuals to wake up in the morning, reminding them to take their medication, stopping obsessive, repetitive behaviors or self-harm behaviors, and more. Once you have picked a task that your dog can perform to help you, you can either train them yourself or hire a professional trainer to assist you in the training process.

Other Requirements

As a psychiatric service dog owner, you must have a mental illness which has been diagnosed by a medical professional before you can qualify to register your dog as a psychiatric service dog. In addition to being trained to do a task in relation to your mental health, your service dog must also undergo training to ensure it will be able to remain calm and controlled even in chaotic environments such as airports. Each state has individualized laws and registration requirements for service dogs, which usually require them to be licensed and vaccinated. Check with your state’s specific laws to find out for sure what is required.

If you are looking to make traveling with your emotional support animal easier and also wanting the ability to take them out in public, then you may want to look into registering it as a psychiatric service dog. Our experts at United Support Animal can help you if you have more questions.