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Having a Service Dog ID card can be the single most useful tool you have, aside from your actual Service Dog. Service Dogs are granted public access rights so you may encounter more hostility and confusion than Emotional Support Animals or Therapy Animals since their presence is often expected.

Benefits of having a Service Dog ID card – Allows you to travel with confidence Permits employees to grant you access without worry Helps educate the public on Service Dog access rights Provides you access to your Service Dog registration on your phone at all times Provides documentation for how long you have had your Service Dog 1. Having a Service Dog ID card allows you to travel with confidence

Service Dogs exist to allow you to live a normal life, even if you have an emotional, mental, or physical disability. However, due to the cultural perceptions that Americans have around dogs in public spaces, your Service Dog might be mistaken for a pet. This can be unnecessarily stressful for some and can prevent people from leaving their homes and using their Service Dog effectively.

By having a Service Dog ID card with you, you can feel confident that no matter what circumstance you run into, you can request public access with ease.

Service Dog ID card allow you to travel with confidence in public. 2. Showing your Service Dog ID card empowers employees to grant you public access

Unfortunately, every employee is not well trained in Service Dog access rights. There are some employees that may be afraid to grant you access because of their “no-animal” policies. They don’t want to permit access because they may be afraid of getting in trouble for allowing an animal. This is a reasonable fear if they or their immediate supervisor is not well versed in Service Dog regulations.

Service Dogs have public access to places such as restaurants, bars, or cafeterias.

If you have your Service Dog ID card, it is even helpful for the employees of:

Restaurants Movie theaters Retail stores Mall security Beach life guards Park rangers

If you are able to show them your Service Dog ID card and identify what task your Service Dog provides to you, they will be able to show their supervisors or anyone else who asks why they granted your Service Dog access.

3. Sharing your Service Dog ID card helps educate the public on Service Dog rights

Having your Service Dog ID card handy may also help you engage and educate others about Service Dog rights. If you have ever entered a public space that does not permit pets, such as an airport, you will likely be asked why your dog is allowed in. You should never feel pressured to engage in conversations about your Service Dog if you are not comfortable.

If you are interested in sharing your experience, you can share your Service Dog ID card with them and explain how your Service Dog helps you and why they are allowed to join you in places where pets are normally not allowed.

Sharing why your Service Dog helps you can be a beautiful experience. 4. Digitally access your Service Dog ID card on your phone at anytime

By registering your Service Dog, you will also have digital access to your Service Dog ID card at all times. The Service Dog registration number can be found on your card. You can keep the number handy on your phone so you may access the database at all times, in the case where you leave your ID card at home or if you do not have your wallet.

In some cases, some places may even ask for this ahead of time. Hotels may request this information so it will be convenient for you to send them a link to access the Service Dog Certification Database and provide them with your service dog registration number.

Instant access to your Service Dog Registration, certificate, and ID card. 5. Document the date you registered your Service Dog for your protection

This is rarely needed, but its better to be safe than sorry. If you are moving and need to request access to a new building, you may run into issues with a new landlord. It may be better to have evidence to show them that you have had your Service Dog registered even before your request for access. Unfortunately, landlords make a lot of money in pet fees so they will be reluctant to grant your Service Dog access since Service Dogs are exempt from paying any additional pet deposits or monthly pet fees.

Your Service Dog also has access to “no-pet” buildings so your landlord may feel more comfortable granting access if they can see that you’ve had your service dog for months or years before moving into their building.

The ADA does not require that you order a Service Dog ID card and allows you to decide what is best for you and your situation. If you would like to have the ease and peace of mind, we recommend registering your Service Dog for a Service Dog ID Card.

If you are interested in making your dog your Service Dog, the link below provide a comprehensive guide to registering your Service Dog.

Service dogs offer an amazing number of ways to help people with physical and mental health limitations. We will go through what a service dog is, who can qualify to have a service dog, where you are allowed to take your service dog, and the benefits of service dog registration. 

If you qualify for a Service Dog and go through the proper steps to train your dog, you have the option of registering a service dog. While it’s an optional step, it can be helpful to obtain an ID card linked to a registry that immediately identifies the dog as a service dog. There are many people that do not know the rules surrounding service dogs and having a Service Dog ID card can help to mitigate conflict. 

Service Dogs are required to be well trained must be under their handler’s control. What is a Service Dog? 

A Service Dog is an assistance animal that is specifically trained in aid in a mental, emotional, or physical disability. Service Dogs must always be in the control of their handler and must perform a specific task for their handler’s disability. A trained service dog should not pull their handler or bark at others when in public, unprovoked. 

Qualifying for a Service Dog 

If you have an emotional, mental, or physical disability, you might qualify for a Service Dog. For more information and a list of disabilities that may qualify you for a Service Dog, read here

Once you have identified your disability, your next step is to identify what task your dog can perform to help aid in your disability. 

A common misunderstanding is that Service Dogs are required to be professionally trained. This is untrue. If you are capable, you are allowed to train your service dog yourself. For many people, paying $20K for a service dog isn’t feasible so being able to train your own service dog is an important right.

Don’t qualify for a service dog? You may qualify for an emotional support animal. Read more about emotional support animals here

You are permitted to train your Service Dog yourself. How to Register your Service Dog

If you want to register your dog as a service dog, your dog must provide a service for your disability. A professional trainer is not required for your dogs to be called a service dog. If you are in need of a service dog, you may personally train your dog to provide a service for your disability. 

Remember, registering is an optional step – no one can deny accommodation for a service dog solely because registration information is missing. To register your Service Dog, you can start your Service Dog Registration process online by clicking the link below.

Service Dog Regulations

Service Dogs are governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is different than Emotional Support Animals which are governed by Fair Housing and the Air Carrier Access Act. 

Service Dogs are distinctly different from emotional support animals. Emotional support animals are also a class of assistance animals, but do not require the same amount of training as Service Dogs and do not enjoy the same public access rights. If you are interested in an ESA, read more here. It is important to know the difference so that you can determine which animal is best for you and your needs. 

To qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, you need an ESA letter. Registration is not sufficient.  Do I need an Doctor’s note for my Service Dog?

Service dogs do not require a note or letter from a doctor. If your dog is trained to provide a service for your disability, a doctor’s note or letter is not required. 

If your animal does not provide a service or task for your disability, but instead provides comfort and support, you will need a note from a doctor to qualify your animal as an emotional support animal

A doctor’s note is not required for a service dog. However, if you need an ESA, a doctor’s note is required.  Where are Service Dogs allowed to go? 

In short, you are allowed to go everywhere that you are allowed to go with your service dog. 

Service Dogs can go into restaurants, hotels, beaches, in the workplace, airplanes, and are granted housing access. 

Emotional Support Animals only have access to housing. If you have an Emotional Support Animal, you will also need an ESA Letter from a licensed mental health professional as registration alone is not sufficient.

As touched on earlier, Service Dogs are not the same as Emotional Support Animals but people can confuse the two. In order to avoid any issues when traveling with your Service Dog, its important to be well versed in your rights and how to handle any confrontations. 

Service Dogs have public access rights. This includes no dog beaches, restaurants, air travel, hotels, and no-pet housing.  Going to Public Places with your Service Dog

If you expect to be traveling with your Service Dog, you may choose to order an ID card and Service Dog Vest. The ADA is clear that both items are not required but the reality is that people are not well aware of ADA regulations and you may experience unpleasant confrontations without it. It is always up to you if you want to stand your ground and educate those who are not well aware of Service Dog rules or you may prefer to have your Service Dog ID handy. There is no right answer, do what is best for you. 

If your Service Dog is denied access, you may report the business to the ADA.

Once you have requested access for your Service Dog, you are never required to disclose your disability to anyone. If you are asked to disclose your disability or asked to demonstrate your Service Dog’s tasks as a condition for granting reasonable accommodation (aka access to wherever you need to go), you may report that business or establishment to the ADA. 

Service Dog Registration

Service Dogs are an important tool and we are lucky to have them. By knowing your rights, you can travel comfortably with your dog. If you would like to register your Service Dog and have your Service Dog ID handy when traveling with your service dog, you can start by completing the Service Dog Registration form below. 

You will be able to order a Service Dog identification kit and register your animal in an international database of service dogs and handlers. You will also be able to pull up your Service Dog ID and registration card using your mobile device anywhere. To complete the service dog registration process, complete the form in the link below. 

If you are a pet parent, you don’t need a scientific study to tell you that having a furry companion in your life just makes you feel better. Animals are there after you’ve had a bad day at work and only want to offer unconditional love and support – no judgment, no criticisms.

However, if you are a science “geek,” you will be happy to know that there have been several studies over the years that show how animals can relieve stress in both adults and children.

Let’s “dig” into the question of; can an animal relieve stress?

Scientific Proof that Animals Relieve Stress

Two studies, each published in the Journal of Research in Personality (and reported in Scientific American), examined the impact pets have on human emotions.

For the first experiment, people were divided into three groups. The first group of participants was given a pet to sit close by, the second group was only asked to think about a pet, and for the third, no animals were involved at all.

The participants were then told to list their goals and how confident they were in achieving them. Not surprisingly, the first two groups came up with a longer list of goals, and they were all significantly more optimistic that they could achieve them.

For the second trial, the same folks were once again divided into three groups. However, this time they were asked to perform a stressful task. The researchers closely monitored any changes in their blood pressure. For those participants that had pets close by or were thinking of pets had markedly lower blood pressure.

The takeaway?

Having pets close to you, or even just thinking about your pets, has the effect of lowering stress.

Therapy Dogs & Emotional Support Animals

For many decades, the use of therapy animals in hospitals, hospices, schools, and nursing homes have shown remarkable improvement in the stress levels of those the animals visit. Patients are calmer and respond better to treatment, while students in schools are better able to face the challenges of the academia with regular visits from a therapy canine.

The use of Emotional Support Animals is also gaining popularity. Mental health professionals are seeing the positive results of their patients emotional and mental health when an ESA is prescribed as part of their treatment regime. Emotional support animals provide comfort and emotional support to their owners and are allowed to live and travel with their owners.

Other Ways Animals Relieve Our Stress

According to Alan M. Beck (Director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine), pets help relieve stress in eight specific ways;

Lowered blood pressure. As the studies indicated, petting an animal or even just being in their presence of one can have a significant reduction on one’s blood pressure. Increase cardiovascular health. People with dogs tend to walk more, which is good for cardiovascular health. Increased activity levels also lower cholesterol. Dogs inspire activity. Having a canine companion will encourage pet parents to get out and be more active, whether that be walking, hiking, playing in the park, or even swimming. Provide companionship. Being lonely can be very stressful. Having an animal provides unconditional friendship, love, and loyalty. Pets help us live in the moment. Animals don’t worry about yesterday or tomorrow – they live their lives in the present. Having an animal keeps us focused on the now, while we let go of our past mistakes or future burdens. Fulfill humans need for touch. It has been proven that physical contact decreases anger, builds a bond, boosts the immune system, and reduces stress. Pet parents also can use the healing power of touch, which is especially important for the increasing number of those who live alone. Provide laughter. Animals can be very amusing, whether they are getting into mischief, or just being themselves. Laughing, in turn, reduces tension in our bodies and provides us with those feel-good hormones. Increase our self-esteem. A recent study from researchers at Miami University and Saint Louis University found that pet owners had better self-esteem than non-pet owners. Animal lovers also tended to exhibit fewer signs of fear and were not as preoccupied with themselves.

Whether you find comfort and friendship in a dog, cat, bird, rabbit or fish, you will be reaping the benefits of a happier and healthier life for it. If you don’t have a pet, look to your local shelter or animal rescue to find your perfect companion.