Can a Service Dog Ride in a Stroller?
The short answer: While there’s no rule explicitly stating that a service dog can’t ride in a stroller, it may not be recommended for several reasons. The better alternative for service dogs are items like vests, harnesses, and leashes.
Why might a stroller not work for a service dog?
First, service dogs are often trained to provide physical support or carry out tasks that require them to be on the ground. For instance, they may be trained to pick up dropped items, provide balance support, guide their handlers, or alert them to specific environmental changes. Being in a stroller might prevent the dog from effectively carrying out these tasks.
Second, it might create confusion for the public. People are accustomed to seeing service dogs walking with their handlers. Seeing a service dog in a stroller might give the impression that it’s a pet rather than a working animal.
Why might a stroller be okay for a service dog?
While it may not be appropriate for many service dogs to be in a stroller, there can be circumstances where it would be acceptable. For example, if the dog is temporarily injured or if the handler’s disability requires that the dog be transported in this manner for certain periods. In such cases, it would be essential to ensure that the stroller is safe and comfortable for the dog.
If the service dog is a smaller animal, using a carrying accessory like a stroller might be helpful to the owner in certain public situations. For example, when crossing long distances in crowded areas where there is a risk of injury to the dog.
It’s important to remember that each situation with a service dog and its handler can be unique, and flexibility might be required based on the handler’s specific needs and the service dog’s training.
As long as the service dog can still perform its tasks effectively and the dignity and rights of the handler are respected, arrangements such as a stroller can be appropriate. If a third party has any doubt regarding a service dog’s status, they can ask the owner two questions under the ADA: 1. Is the dog a service dog required for a disability? and 2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
What do service handlers use instead?
A service dog must be under the control of the handler at all times. To accomplish this, most service dog owners use items like vests, harnesses, and leashes instead of strollers. They also use accessories like ID cards so the public is immediately aware of their dog’s status.