Tips for Service Dog Registration in the United States


There are many different roles that dogs can take in our lives. They offer emotional support and unconditional love, but sometimes they go above and beyond just being a pet by becoming service dogs and assisting people with various physical and mental disabilities. If you have a dog that has been trained to be an assistance dog, you have the option of registering your dog with one of the various online companies that offer this service. While this is not legally required according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is highly recommended to have a service dog certificate and ID to easily prove to others that your dog is a working animal and not a pet.

Any age, breed, size or sex of dog can become a service dog, and all service animals in the US get the benefit of complete and unrestricted access to all public places, and are allowed into all apartment buildings and onto all airlines for free. The ADA is the law protecting service dogs and their handlers in the United States, and requires all businesses and public spaces to grant access to these animals.


How to Register a Service Dog

If you are looking for information on how to make your dog a service dog or how get a dog you’ve purchased certified as a service dog, you must first ensure that you have a major life-altering disability that qualifies you for a service animal (qualifying disabilities include autism, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, mobility challenges, blindness, deafness, severe anxiety or chronic depression, and other mental and physical disorders).

Assistance dogs can be are trained to: be the eyes of a visually-impaired person by guiding them; be the ears of a hearing-impaired person to alert them to the presence of danger; be able to predict when a person is about to have a seizure and to protect them while they are so inflicted; be able to alert a person when they are scheduled to take medication that has been prescribed; be able to calm an agitated person when they are having an anxiety attack and with many more tasks. Service animals must be able to perform the tasks they have been trained to do competently to help their handler live life as normally as possible.

You will need to ensure that your dog has been fully trained to perform the required tasks and jobs that you need to assist you with your condition in day-to-day life. Training a service dog is a long, complicated and expensive process, and can take anywhere from six months to several years. A dog should only be registered as a service dog if it is trained to function as such.

how to register a service dog

You can easily get your dog registered and certified with one of the many online companies that offer this service, such as US Dog Registry. Prices and services vary, and you can choose from several options and accessory packages depending on your needs. They will then register you dog within their own internal database and you will receive the ID, paperwork and other accessories you ordered in the mail.

Legally in the US it isn’t required to register any service animal with any company, nor is it required for a disabled person to carry and display any kind of ID or proof that their service animal is legitimate, but nevertheless it is highly recommended that you do so to prevent any misunderstands and to allow everyone in public to easily see that your dog is a working animal and not just a pet. Most businesses won’t stop to question a dog that is wearing a clearly-labeled service dog vest.

Also, many disabilities are not easily visible or easy to identify. Large mobility assistance and guide dogs are generally much easier to recognize than smaller medical alert dogs. Also, many of the disabilities that people with assistance animals suffer from are emotional and psychological, not physical. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make sure your animal is always wearing a high-visibility vest and harness and carrying some kind of identification at all times.


service animal with a disabled veteranThe Kits for Service Dog Registration and Certification

Many service animal registration websites offer kits for you to purchase. There are several kits that you will be able to take advantage of, starting at a basic level. Basic options can start around $79, and usually include registration, a certificate, a photo ID card, and a service canine tag. If you want a larger package, including options for therapy dogs and emotional support animals, the price will go up accordingly. The price tag goes upwards to $199 for deluxe kit with all the amenities including additional tags, labeled leashes and collars, a service dog vest and more. You can also purchase these items separately if you wish from most major online retailers.


Some Registration Companies are Better Than Others

There are many online companies offering registration and certification for service, emotional support and therapy dogs and sell various packages and products for assistance animals. However, price is not always a good indicator of a quality. It’s a good idea to contact the company over the phone and speak to a representative before deciding to make any purchase to ensure that you get exactly the registry package that suits your needs.


The U.S. is a Generally a Good Place for Assistance Dogs

In regards to service dog registration in the United States, the process is overall very easy. Registering a service animal with a private company and purchase a few accessories is a simple solution to allow the general public to differentiate between pet dogs and working dogs with a specific function in our society. As long as your service animal is fully-trained and under your control while in public, you can easily provide documented proof of disability that you have, you shouldn’t have any problems taking your dog with you wherever you go. However, if your dog is misbehaving or being nuisance, the staff of a business have the legal right to ask you to leave your dog outside.

how to get your dog certified as a service dog online

Some of the service animals you see in public are not legitimate and these animals have not received any training at all, which is an unfortunate result of the current self-regulatory nature of the service animal industry. However, many more of these dogs provide invaluable help and immeasurable assistance to their handlers in helping to increase their independence in everyday life.

Please note that dogs that function as therapy dogs or emotional assistance dogs by only to providing comfort to the distressed or emotional support cannot be registered as a service dog as the term is defined by the American Disabilities Act.

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