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How to Qualify Your Dog as an Anxiety Service Dog

How to Qualify Your Dog as an Anxiety Service Dog

Can a person qualify for a service dog if they have anxiety? 

Short Answer: Yes, but only if the person’s anxiety is so severe that it qualifies as a disability and the dog has been individually trained to perform tasks relating to that disability. 

Anxiety as a Disability 

To own a service dog under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the handler must have a “disability,” which is a defined legal term.

A disability can be psychiatric, such as chronic anxiety. However, the anxiety must be so severe and persistent that it “substantially limits one or more major life activities.” That means your anxiety must be so bad that it hinders your ability to do essential activities like work, sleep, or schooling. 

To figure out whether they have a qualifying disability, many people obtain what is known as a PSD letter. A PSD letter comes from a mental health professional who has evaluated your condition. It states whether your condition meets ADA requirements. 

Anxiety Service Dog Tasks

A service dog can perform several tasks for a person with anxiety, including:

  • Providing pressure therapy: The dog can apply pressure to the person’s body by leaning or lying on them, which can help reduce anxiety and provide comfort.
  • Interrupting panic attacks: The dog can be trained to recognize signs of a panic attack and take action to distract the person or lead them away from the situation.
  • Providing tactile stimulation: The dog can provide physical touch or stimulation to help ground the person and reduce anxiety.
  • Retrieving medication or other items: The dog can be trained to retrieve medication or other necessary items for the person during heightened anxiety.

In addition to trained tasks, a dog’s presence alone can provide a sense of security and comfort for the person with anxiety. It’s important to note that each person’s needs and experiences with anxiety may differ; therefore, individualized training is required for each service dog for anxiety

How to Qualify Your Dog as an Anxiety Service Dog
Psychiatric Service Dog Certification - Start Here

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