Can You Get a Service Dog for Depression?

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Can you get a service dog for depression

Around four percent of the American population suffers from a severe mental health disability. For those who live with severe depression, living a normal life can be hard. They need a little help getting by in their day-to-day. One thing is for certain: they would greatly benefit from getting a service dog for depression.

These animals enjoy special rights and perform super important tasks. But what are they, and how can you get one? Keep reading to find out!

Service Dogs Definition: What Is a Service Dog?

A service dog is a trained animal who helps their owner with day-to-day tasks. They assist people with psychiatric or physical disabilities. They’re obedient and, above all, incredibly helpful. From pushing a wheelchair to helping a blind person cross the road, they can do it all.

Service Dog Requirements

It takes a special kind of dog to become a service dog. They have so many responsibilities, you can’t trust their job to just anyone! Thus, they need to check off a few requirements.

For starters, they need to be quick learners and not stubborn at all. They also need to be gentle and docile. A great service dog loves to please their owner and adores obeying commands too.

There are many more requirements, but these are the most important ones. As you can guess, this means that there are some breeds who make awesome service dogs. Golden Retrievers and Labradors are the most popular service dog breeds.

Different Types of Service Dogs

There is a variety of disabilities that warrant the company of a service dog. For this reason, there are also different types of service dogs.

Guide dogs are the most noticeable service animals. They help visually impaired people go out in public. They’ll open doors for them, cross the road, among other tasks.

Hearing alert or signal dogs make deaf people aware of certain sounds around them. If someone’s knocking at the door, for example, they will let their owner know. Alerting them to the sound of a fire alarm is another important task they have.

Seizure alert dogs get help when their owner has a seizure. This allows for medical treatment to reach the owner soon, and potentially save their life.

Lastly, there are also psychiatric service animals. They’ll help their owners manage their medication and get help in the event of an attack. A service dog for depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) fits into this category.

beautiful golden retriever dog comforts their wheelchair-bound owner

Therapy Dog, Psychiatric Service Dog, Emotional Support Animal… What Is the Difference?

Are you confused by all these names? Don’t worry—you’re not alone. It can be hard to remember what each animal’s job is. That said, it’s important to know how they differ!

Therapy Dog

You can find a therapy dog usually at assisted living facilities and hospitals. They keep patients and residents company. After all, animal-assisted therapy has tons of advantages.

Psychiatric Service Dog

A psychiatric service dog helps their owner to live with a severe mental health disability. Whether they have a panic or anxiety attack in public or need help taking their meds, these pups are there to help. They go through training to perform these tasks.

It’s important to point out that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect the rights of these animals. This means that they can go into public places with their owners. Even if those places aren’t normally pet-friendly!

Emotional Support Dog

An emotional support animal (ESA) is also a valuable companion. They help their owners cope with an emotional or psychiatric disability. By showering them with love and affection, they ease the burden of having a mental health problem.

Two ironclad federal laws protect ESAs. These regulate housing and air travel. Because they don’t go through professional training, they don’t enjoy the same benefits as service dogs. For example, they can only enter pet-friendly public establishments.

man in army uniform gets a kiss from his canine sidekickHow Can a Service Dog Help with My Depression?

If your depression is stopping you from living normally, it may be time to get a service dog for depression. They will better your days and give you back some quality of life.

For starters, they will always be by your side. This human-animal bond has proven to aid mental health and well-being.

Secondly, a service dog for depression will help you take your meds consistently and on time.

Not to mention that knowing you have a loving pup to take care of will help you get your day started in the morning. If you struggle with long days in bed with a lack of motivation to do anything, a service dog for depression will help.

Keep in mind that it’s much easier (and more common) to get an emotional support dog for depression. Service dogs are only awarded to people with severe depression, which is a rare condition.

Service Dog Training: How to Make My Dog a Service Dog?

There are plenty of service dog frauds out there. Don’t fall into one of these traps! It will not only cost you a lot of time and effort but can also land you in trouble.

If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be this: you can’t turn a pet into a service dog. Service animals need to go through training from a very young age. It takes months, sometimes years, to train a service dog. For that reason, it’s best to turn to professional trainers for your service dog for depression needs.

Service Dog Training Near Me

Luckily, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of service dog training centers in the United States and Canada. Whether you’re looking for a service dog for depression or for service dogs for PTSD, you’ll find a training center.

A quick Google search is pretty much all you need to do. Look up “service dog training near me” and you’ll see a long list of centers. Simply reach out to one of them to work out the details—it’s that convenient!

How Much Does Service Dog Training Cost?

The cost of training a service dog can vary. It doesn’t only depend on the center you’re doing business with. It also depends on what kind of tasks you need your service pooch to perform.

service dog for depression - cheerful dog gives its owner a hug

How to Get a Service Dog for Depression?

There are several requirements you must meet in order to get a service dog for depression.

  • Having a severe and debilitating psychiatric disability.
  • Participate in the dog’s training process.
  • Ability to care for a service dog in the long-run.
  • Having a stable home living situation beneficial for the dog.

How Much Does a Service Dog Cost?

Getting a service dog isn’t cheap. The more tasks they need to perform, the more expensive they are. In fact, the cost of owning one may reach $25.000! And that’s not taking into account medical bills and their day-to-day care needs.

Common Questions on Service Dog for Depression

I have anxiety, can I get a service dog?

Do I have to pay to get a service dog?

Can my pet become a service dog?

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