Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

Blame it on famous small dogs like Bruiser Woods from “Legally Blonde” or Toto from “Wizard of Oz,” but small dogs have the unfortunate reputation for being pretty and portable, but not very useful. They’re known as excellent lap dogs and fit snugly into a purse. And small dogs are the supermodels of the canine fashion world. But small dogs are much more than a pretty face. Some small breeds are highly intelligent and possess intuition that can be of great assistance to their handler. So, if you ever wondered, can a small dog be a service dog, the answer would be Yes, for the reasons highlighted in this article.

Why Choose a Small Dog for a Service Dog

Don’t be fooled. Small dogs are also intelligent, agile, and eager to please—ideal traits for a service dog. Because service dogs perform tasks for people with disabilities and are protected by federal laws, they’re often regarded as the epitome of a “helper dog.” Although more traditional service dog breeds are Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds, small dogs can also function well as service dogs. 

When choosing a service dog, matching the right dog breed with a person’s needs is key. Also, lifestyle factors like the size of the home and work environment can play a part. Small dogs don’t require much space and can fit comfortably in smaller homes, apartments, or office environments. They’re less obtrusive than large dogs and can remain out of sight without attracting unnecessary attention. 

Are Small Dogs a Good Option for My Disability? 

It’s essential to match a service dog to a person’s disability, and not all disabilities need the help of a larger dog. Aligning a service dog’s qualities with a person’s disability requirements helps a dog fulfill the right tasks. 

1. Mobility Service Dog

Although mobility service dogs that prevent their owners from falling are typically larger, many people who have mobility issues don’t have problems with falling. For these individuals, having a smaller dog may be a better option than a larger service dog. Smaller dogs can jump on chairs and tables to retrieve items for their handler. They can also retrieve dropped items quickly and maneuver through crowds during emergencies. 

2. Sound Alert or Hearing Service Dogs

Service dogs for individuals with hearing impairments don’t have to be large or even medium-sized. Very often, small dogs can alert their handler to loud sounds just as well as larger dogs. Sound alert dogs notify their handler of sounds like knocks on doors, crying children, or alarms.  

3. Diabetic Service Dogs

Diabetes is a condition that affects blood sugar and changes the chemicals in the body. These changes emit scents that are imperceptible to humans. However, a dog’s sense of smell can be 100,000 times stronger than a human’s. Therefore, dogs can pick up the scent of chemical changes in the human body, helping identify critical changes like a drop in blood sugar. Diabetic service dogs notify their handler when they need insulin or are experiencing blood sugar changes. A dog of any size can fulfill this job. 

Small dogs can very well learn and fulfill service dog duties. 4. Seizure Response Dogs

Seizure response dogs assist individuals who are experiencing an epileptic seizure. After receiving extensive training, these dogs alert others for help by pressing an alarm, calling an emergency line, or obtaining medication to help their handlers recover afterward, which are similar tasks to a medical service dog. However, seizure response dogs also perform specific tasks related to seizures, sometimes even alerting their handler to an oncoming seizure episode. 

5. Allergen Service Dogs

Food allergies are on the rise throughout the world, requiring new methods in allergy detection. Allergen service dogs fill that need through their keen sense of smell. Using their noses, allergen service dogs can detect the scent of allergens like peanuts or gluten. Because allergen detection isn’t dependent on size, small dogs can succeed in this task. 

Good Service Dogs Come in All Sizes

Service dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and small service dogs can work as well as large ones. For some people, small dogs might be preferable. Smaller dogs typically require less dog food, which saves on costs. And small dogs fit in places that would be impossible for a larger service dog. As long as a service dog can perform the required tasks successfully and safely, size doesn’t matter—because good things can come in small packages! 

Quite a few of us have had a dog steal our hearts, but did you know they can also save it? Dogs provide companionship and comfort. But for people who struggle with dangerous heart conditions, service dogs can also help monitor their heart condition. 

Medical Alert Service Dogs

Medical alert service dogs—or more specifically, Cardiac Alert Dogs—are service dogs trained to detect anomalies in heartbeats and blood pressure changes. When a sudden change occurs, a cardiac alert dog can spot the difference and alert their owner to the danger. 

Because cardiac alert dogs play such a vital role in saving lives, they must learn how to detect cardiac changes accurately. To achieve this training level, cardiac alert dogs spend years learning how to recognize changes in pulse patterns and blood pressure. Sometimes, their training starts as young puppies, with almost daily sessions devoted to identifying heart changes. 

When significant changes are observed, a cardiac alert dog may get its owner’s attention through a designated “alert behavior,” like pawing at their owner or laying on the ground. For example, if a sudden spike in blood pressure is detected, a cardiac alert dog may bump its owner repeatedly with its head until its owner responds. 

How Much Does a Medical Alert Dog Cost? 

The costs for a service dog can vary, depending on whether you train the dog yourself or purchase a fully trained dog. Although training a service dog yourself is the cheapest way, the cost savings come at another price: time and effort. Training a service dog takes consistency, routine, and a lot of time. 

If you’re looking to purchase a medical alert dog, you may pay anywhere from $10,000–$25,000 for a fully trained dog. It’s important to buy the dog from a legitimate organization because, quite literally, your life depends on the dog you buy.

Whether you choose to train a medical alert dog yourself or purchase one, it’s an investment in your future and health. Medical service dogs provide companionship and peace of mind that isn’t available anywhere else. 

Which Breeds are Good Medical Alert Dogs? 

When choosing a medical alert dog, the breed matters. A dog breed known for its excellent sense of smell and hearing is the best choice. Discerning changes in heartbeats and blood pressure not only takes a keens sense of smell and hearing, but it also requires a dog to be attentive and not easily distracted. The following breeds are tried and true medical alert service dog breeds:

Labrador Retrievers are all around great dogs and can be trained to become any type of service dog, including a medical service dog. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds to have as pets, and they make ideal service dogs. Traditionally, Labrador Retrievers were bred as hunting dogs, which means they can follow directions and readily detect changes. A perceptive breed, Labrador Retrievers, are definitely up to the task of being a medical service dog. 

Poodles are cuddly and eager to please. Their sharp senses make them an ideal contender for a medical service dog. Poodles

Poodles aren’t just pretty to look at, but they’re also intelligent and eager to please. What’s more, they have a sharp sense of smell and are often used for tracking purposes. Poodles are also hypoallergenic dogs and are ideal for people who are allergic to dog fur and dander. 

German Shepherds are always alert and focused on their jobs, which are perfect traits for a medical service dog. German Shepherd

German Shepherds often function as police dogs because of their strong sense of smell, making them excellent medical service dogs. Along with their olfactory talents, German Shepherds are focused and calm. They don’t get distracted or rattled very easily and can stay on task for long periods. As medical service dogs, German Shepherds are a great option overall. 

Finding Your Medical Alert Dog

If you’re interested in a medical alert or cardiac alert dog, speak with a licensed healthcare professional to see if one could benefit your situation. You may even qualify for discounts, grants, financial aid, veteran support, or donated service dogs if your physician recommends one. Depending on your environment and needs, finding the right service dog might take a bit of time. For example, a German Shepherd might make an excellent medical alert dog, but they’re not practical if you live in a small apartment or can’t afford the cost of care. 

A medical service dog is a living animal and requires care and attention, just like a regular pet. They perform best when they have a solid bond with their owner. There are many factors to consider when searching for a medical service dog, and obtaining the right medical service dog is not easy, but it may save your life. 

Let everyone know instantly your medical service dog is an indispensable part of your life with your Service Dog ID. Get your medical service dog registered below.

Mobility service dogs do more than help a person with a disability walk or remain upright. They can receive training to perform a variety of tasks related to movement. For instance, they can: 

Move obstacles out of a disabled person’s path (such as rugs, chairs, or small objects).  Obtain items that are out of reach for a person.  Retrieve items that fall onto the floor.  Hold coats and jackets to help their owner dress or undress.  Function as a brace for people who struggle with strength or balance issues.  Bark to alert others when their owner falls or collapses. 

To register your dog as a service dog in our national database, click on the link below to get started.

Five Best Mobility Dog Breeds

Mobility dogs must be intelligent, as with all service dogs, but they also have to be an adequate size to qualify as a true mobility service dog. Because people with mobility issues may fall or require a brace, small dogs may not be appropriate. Mobility dogs are often strong and solid dogs, squarely built and full of muscle. They must also have a patient temperament, free from anxiety. 

The following dogs are the five best mobility dog breeds for people with disabilities: 

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers are a favorite choice for most types of service dog requirements. They’re highly intelligent and eager to please, but labrador retrievers also have an excellent temperament. They bond well with their owners and family, are calm in public spaces, and socialize well with other dogs. It’s their size, however, that makes them an optimal mobility service dogs. They’re strong and sturdy, and grow large enough to help brace their owners and life limbs. Male Labrador retrievers can grow up to 80 pounds and can reach two feet in height. 

The intelligent Labrador Retriever is all around a perfect mobility service dog. Newfoundlands

Newfoundland dogs are very large dogs, making them ideal for taller individuals who require fall prevention or bracing. The male dogs can grow up to 150 pounds and 28 inches in height. Although they’re large dogs, Newfoundlands are exceptionally gentle and patient. They’re well known in the dog world for being sweet and attentive with their owners—precisely what mobility service dog owners need

Newfoundlands are gentle giants that can support larger humans. Bernese Mountain Dogs

The Bernese Mountain Dog looks almost like a large fluffy teddy bear, and their temperament adds to this aura. Their broad head and thick fur are adorable, but these traits also make the Bernese Mountain Dog great mobility dogs. Their thick coat allows their owners to grab onto them or brace themselves comfortable—and their large heads can do the same. This breed also boasts a gentle and patient personality. Not prone to anxiety or fear, they are well-behaved when out in public. Adult male Bernese Mountain dogs can reach up to 115 pounds and 27 inches in height, which allows them to tolerate weight. 

Bernese Mountain Dogs has the size and temperament to be excellent mobility dogs. Rottweilers 

Rottweilers are well-known as guard dogs, but they also make ideal mobility service dog. Their size and physique make for a sturdy brace, and they can tolerate and pull weight. Male Rottweilers can grow up to 135 pounds and grow to 27 inches in height. What’s more, Rottweilers are exceptionally easy to train and loyal to their owners. Although their reputation as vicious guard dogs precede them, they’re quite calm and gentle. When in a playful mood, they can also be silly and goofy! 

With their strength and loyalty Rottweilers make great mobility service dogs. St. Bernard

The St. Bernard is a large dog. Owners who choose a St. Bernard as a service dog may want to consider their size. Not only is the St. Bernard a huge dog, but it’s also very furry—making it look even larger. A male St. Bernard can grow up to 180 pounds and 30 inches in height. Ideal for larger people who may require a brace for fall prevention, the St. Bernard is an excellent mobility service dog. This breed, especially the males, are solid and muscular underneath the layers of fur. They’re also calm, attentive, and eager to learn. Despite their size, they’re wonderful with small children and function well in families. 

The St. Bernard is a gentle, strong giant and eager to work as a mobility service dog. Other Points to Consider with Mobility Dog Breeds

Dogs used as mobility service dogs tend to be larger breeds. And large breeds need more space and more food. A mobility service dog works well in larger areas with little clutter. These dogs also need to stay fit to do their work, requiring space to run and play in. And because they’re often working, they may need extra nourishment. 

Large dogs may also require costly grooming fees because of their size and fur. This point is important because adequate grooming and feeding keep service dogs healthy and ready to accomplish their tasks. If you’re looking for a mobility service dog and can provide the right environment and care, then the breeds above may be right for you!