Psychiatric Service Dogs

What Disqualifies a Dog from Being a Psychiatric Service Dog?

What Disqualifies a Dog from Being a Psychiatric Service Dog?

If you have an emotional support animal, you may be wondering if you qualify to register it as psychiatric service dog. This small upgrade makes a world of difference in where you can take your animal and what you can do with it. If you have a psychiatric service dog, you can fly with it, go into public with it, and basically take it anywhere with you, as well as live without worrying about pet policies or fees. Here is what could prevent you from taking this next step.

What is Psychiatric Service Dog?

Psychiatric service dogs are dogs that are specially trained to work with people who have certain kinds of mental illnesses or learning disabilities. These dogs can help their owners perform tasks that they otherwise might not be able to do or help them to live a more independent lifestyle. Psychiatric service dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which means that they are treated as necessary medical equipment and can be taken anywhere with you.

What Qualifications Does a Psychiatric Service Dog Need?

In order to register your animal as psychiatric service dog, it must be a dog and it must perform a specific task for you in relation to your mental illness or disability. This mental illness or disability must be diagnosed by a medical or mental health professional, and this professional must write a letter verifying your need for the dog.

What Would Disqualify a Dog from Being a Service Animal?

The job of a service dog is a hard one. They must be well trained, calm, and collected, even in the most hectic and stressful of environments. Here some characteristics that will make it impossible for an animal to be a psychiatric service animal.


If your dog is prone to aggression in any form, they will not make a suitable service animal. This includes growling, snarling, biting, clawing, or showing teeth.

Lack of Physical Fitness

A service dog must sometimes hike all over with their owner, including long hikes through airports, malls, and other facilities. This means they must be in good physical condition and able to handle the physical demands of the job.

Health Issues

In order to keep up with the stress and demand of service dog life, the dog must be healthy. Having a reliable service dog is important, and a healthy dog is a reliable dog. They must also be able to keep up with the physical demands of being a service dog mentioned above.

Unsuitable Size

While there is no official limit on the size of your dog, getting in an airplane with a giant dog is no easy task. When selecting a psychiatric service dog, it is important to be aware of size, and how this will affect your experience and the experience of those around you.


A service dog must not be easily frightened or scared, as they will frequently be venturing into new places and encountering strangers.


If your dog barks loudly in reaction to seeing a new person, taking them into a grocery store will be nightmare. Make sure the dog you pick to be your service animal is calm and even tempered. If your dog causes too much of a disturbance or is destructive, businesses have the right to remove you.

No Focus

A psychiatric service dog must be able to stay focused on you and perform the tasks they need to perform for you, even in the total chaos of an airport. Having a dog that is able to focus and stay on task is critical.

In conclusion, psychiatric service dogs have a tough job and there are several things which could disqualify them from being service animals. They must be well trained and well behaved at all times, be healthy, and well-focused. If you have found the perfect dog and are ready for the step of registering them as psychiatric service dog, contact our professionals at United Support Animal today at 800-918-3151 or by checking out the United Animal Support shop.