Most likely, you have heard of service dogs for people with disabilities such as blindness, diabetes, seizures, and other illnesses. However, you may not have heard of a psychiatric service dog. So how do psychiatric service dogs vary from regular service animals? What role do they play? How do you find out if you qualify for one? Here are the basics of what a psychiatric service dog does.
What is a Psychiatric Service Dog?
According to the American Disability Act, a service dog by definition must be trained to perform certain actions that help their disabled owner somehow. This can include guiding them, sensing blood sugar drops, steadying them when they are dizzy, etc. It can also include calming their handlers during panic attacks by laying on top of them, interrupting OCD behaviors, or waking someone up who is having a nightmare due to PTSD. In addition, psychiatric service dogs can help with illnesses like anxiety, depression, panic attacks, PTSD, OCD, and a variety of phobias.
What Can Psychiatric Service Dogs Do?
Psychiatric service dogs differ from regular service dogs in that they are trained to help with mental disabilities. They differ from emotional support animals in that they are trained to do specific tasks which help their owners. Emotional support animals provide comfort and relief simply by their presence and companionship. Psychiatric service dogs can accompany their owners almost anywhere as long as they have the proper certification. However, emotional support animals have a lot more restrictions on where they can and cannot go.
Do You Qualify for a Psychiatric Service Dog?
To be eligible for a psychiatric service dog, you must have a diagnosable mental illness that prevents you from living life normally during one or more activities. You must also present a specific need that can be met by a trained dog, making the dog indispensable and absolutely necessary to your daily life. In order to go through psychiatric service dog registration, you must have a letter of certification from a mental health professional. Once your service dog is registered, you will want to make sure to carry your registration documentation with you and possibly buy a service dog vest for your service animal.
As shown, a psychiatric service dog is very similar to a regular service dog, except that they are specially trained to assist individuals with mental disabilities. As a result, they can perform tasks that help their owners on a daily basis function in a more normal way. Psychiatric service dogs can go with you almost anywhere, as long as you have your service dog registration on you. Qualifying for a service dog simply requires a certification letter from a medical professional who can validate your need for one. You can register your psychiatric service dog here at United Support Animals today. Our staff of professionals would be delighted to help you out and answer any of your questions!