Psychiatric Service Dogs

How To Make Your Dog into a Psychiatric Service Animal

Psychiatric service dogs are rapidly growing in popularity. Due to their ability to accompany you in public and travel with you on flights, they are a great option for those with mental health issues. If you have a great dog already, you may be wondering how difficult it would be to register it as a psychiatric service dog. Or if you have an emotional support animal, you may be hoping to upgrade it to psychiatric service animal. Read on to learn how you can accomplish this.

What is a Psychiatric Service Dog?

A psychiatric service dog is defined as a dog who is trained to do specific tasks in relation to their owner’s mental illness or disability. They are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as necessary medical equipment.  They differ from emotional support animals in that they are trained to do certain tasks, while emotional support animals simply provide comfort through their presence. Emotional support animals also cannot travel with you or go in public with you the way a psychiatric service dog can, because they are only protected by the Fair Housing Act. They also differ from traditional service animals who are trained to do tasks for those with physical disabilities or illnesses.

What do Psychiatric Service Dogs Do?

Psychiatric service dogs can be trained to do a variety of tasks in relation to your mental illness. These tasks can include reminding you to take your medication at the correct time, waking you up from nightmares, stopping self-harming or OCD behaviors, interrupting PTSD flashbacks, standing on top of you to hit certain pressure points when you are having a panic attack, and more. These dogs must also be trained to be calm and well behaved, even in chaotic and loud environments, such as airports.

Can You Turn Your Dog into a Psychiatric Service Animal?

In order to get your dog certified as a psychiatric service animal, it must be trained to do a specific task or tasks in relation to your mental health struggles. Additionally, it must be trained to be calm and well-behaved in all environments, no matter how loud or chaotic. You can train your dog yourself, or you can hire a professional to train it for you. While having a professional train your dog may be more expensive, it will be more effective and reliable, as they have the knowledge necessary to equip your dog with what it needs.

To get your psychiatric dog certification, you will need a letter written by a certified medical or mental health professional who has diagnosed your mental illness or disability, verifying your need for a psychiatric service animal.

In conclusion, you can turn your dog into a psychiatric service dog. To do so you must have a letter of certification from a medical or mental health professional verifying your mental illness or disability and your need for the dog. You then must train your dog to do specific tasks in relation to your mental illness or disability and to be well behaved and calm at all times no matter their environment. You can get a letter of certification today by talking to our experts at United Support Animal today at 800-918-3151 or by taking our pre-screening test.