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How to Register Your Dog as a Service Dog

How to register a service dog

A service dog can significantly improve a person’s quality of life. Not only do they fulfill specific tasks for individuals with physical or mental health conditions, but they also provide companionship and security. 

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about qualifying for a service dog, why you should register a service dog, and how to make it happen. 

Who qualifies for a service dog?

To see if you can get a service dog, you need to check if you meet a couple of important conditions:

  1. You have an ADA-eligible condition: This means you have a physical or mental condition that makes everyday activity, like walking, talking, working, or learning, much harder for you.
  2. A service dog must directly help with your specific disability: Service dogs are like full-time personal assistants trained to do special tasks that help manage your condition and keep you safe. 

Service dogs can be your eyes if you can’t see well, your ears if you can’t hear, or even help you stay steady if you have trouble getting around. 

If you have a psychiatric condition, service dogs can be trained to know when you’re in distress and comfort you, retrieve your medication, calm your panic attacks, or nudge you out of dissociative spells. The jobs that service dogs do for their handlers are endless!

What are the benefits of registering my service dog?

There are many reasons to register a service dog and obtain an associated ID card and other service dog paraphernalia: 

  • Public Acceptance: Having a registered service dog with an ID card can make it easier for the public to understand and accept your dog’s presence in public spaces. People are more likely to respect and accommodate a service dog that appears to be properly registered and identified.
  • Emergency Situations: In the event of an emergency, a service dog ID card and other accessories can let emergency workers know you have a service dog. This can help first responders and medical personnel understand the importance of keeping you and your service dog together.
  • Travel Convenience: If you plan on traveling with your service dog, having a registered service dog ID card, vests, and tags can make the process smoother.
  • Commemoration: After the hard work of successfully training a dog, many service dog handlers like to mark the accomplishment with a certificate, registration, or vest for their service dog. Registering your service dog can also serve as proof that your dog has undergone the necessary training to perform specific tasks related to your disability. 
  • Confrontation avoidance: Perhaps one of the most aggravating requests that service dog owners face is the demand for ID cards and registrations from uninformed third parties. Rather than teaching every inquirer about proper ADA rules, many service dog owners prefer to provide immediate visual notice of their dog’s status and bypass any disagreements. 
  • Convenience: Having immediate and tangible information about your service dog’s status, others are less likely to question your dog’s presence. Registration allows you—and your service dog—to go about your tasks with fewer interruptions. Your disability, and your dog’s services, can remain your own business. 

While registration is not a legal requirement in some countries, including the United States, having a registered service dog and an ID card can make life significantly easier for you and your service dog. It can provide peace of mind and make navigating public spaces a more positive experience.

A service dog and its handler at the veterinarian.
A service dog can be registered after its training is complete.

Is it legally required to register my service dog?

Many venues, landlords, and airport staff sometimes ask to see registration documents for service dogs. Their request is somewhat misguided, as registration documents are not a prerequisite for having a service dog. 

Registering a service dog can have several benefits, but you can’t be denied entry because you don’t have them. However, many service dog handlers find it helpful to have these documents to present when asked for them. 

How do I choose a reputable service dog registration organization?

When registering your service dog, you have many options; some are much better than others. 

There are sites you should be wary of. For example, any site that promises you that registering a dog will qualify it as a service dog (or conveniently forgets to mention that’s not the case). 

ServiceDogCertifications.org educates the public about proper service dog rights and advocates for true service dog owners. Their database is reserved exclusively for individuals that can confirm they meet service dog registration requirements. 

Service Dog Certification’s ID cards and tags are recognized worldwide as a mark for genuine service dogs. If you’re looking to register your service dog, there is no better way to go.

Register Here - Button - ServiceDogCertifications

How to Register Your Dog as a Service Dog

  1. Input the name of your service dog.

    Enter the name the service dog typically responds to.

    Service dog registration - step 1

  2. Input the name of the service dog handler.

    The handler would be the name of the person who the dog performs tasks for. 

    Service dog registration - step 2

  3. Upload a picture of your service dog.

    Choose a photo that is clear and provides an accurate representation of your dog. The photo is optional, but most service dog handlers prefer to include it. It’s helpful to have an ID card with an actual picture of the dog on it during public encounters. 

    Service dog registration - step 3

  4. Select other optional accessories.

    In addition to the ID card, you can add other equipment like vests, tags, and certificates. 

    Service dog registration - step 4

Do I have to divulge medical information during registration?

No, registering your service dog with Service Dog Certifications does not require you to divulge private medical information. In fact, disability laws specifically prohibit this. No one can demand that you reveal your exact condition and specific details about your medical or mental health history. 

How can third parties verify my service dog?

Service dog verification under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) comes down to a couple of things. 

If it’s evident that a person is disabled and needs their service dog, these handlers can’t be badgered with questions and requests for documents. 

If it’s not apparent why the person needs the dog, third parties can rightfully ask two questions:

  1. Is the dog a service dog required for a disability? 
  2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Staff at venues, landlords, and other individuals can choose to rely on ID cards or certificates, but they don’t have to. They cannot ban a service dog if the handler does not have these items but can answer the above two questions. 

Order your Service Dog ID

Service Dog Identification


1) Add Service Dog and Handler Info

Information must be exactly as you want it to appear on the ID card.

Please enter dog name!

Please enter handler name!

2) Service Dog's Photo

File types accepted: jpg, png, gif, bmp
Max file size: 10 MB

Upload No File Chosen.

Please upload photo!

3) Additional Options

Please agree to terms and conditions

4) Psychiatric Service Dog Letter

5) Service Dog Vest

Click here to see vest details

Order Total


Avoid Confusion with a Service Dog ID and Registration

Registering your service dog with Service Dog Certifications provides you with an identification card and 24/7 access to our Service Dog Registry. Your Service Dog ID card will have your registration number listed so that a third party can look up your service dog’s information at any time.

An ID card for a service dog can be helpful as it provides a quick and easy way to communicate the dog’s status to others, potentially reducing misunderstandings or challenges in public places like stores, hotels or restaurants. However, always keep in mind that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not require service animals to have any form of identification, and their access rights are not contingent upon possessing an ID.

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About the Author: The writing team at Service Dog Certifications is made up of folks who really know their stuff when it comes to disability laws and assistance animals. Many of our writers and editors have service dogs themselves and share insights from their own experiences. All of us have a passion for disability rights and animals.


  1. Dolores Morris says: September 18, 2020
  2. James Earl says: September 24, 2020
    • Peter says: October 14, 2020
      • Yuko arakawa says: February 16, 2021
        • Peter says: March 4, 2021
  3. Katherine Edgar says: March 17, 2023

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