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How a Service Dog Can Change Your Life 

Did you know that if you have a disability, you may qualify for a service dog? Service dogs are pets that perform specific tasks for those who have disabilities. Service dogs can accompany you anywhere, including work programs. Service dogs are a companion you can legally bring anywhere you go. Here are some tips from Bethel Community Pet Hospital to get you started. 

The Benefits of a Service Dog 


Dogs can help with a variety of tasks. They can help someone with disabilities live a more independent life. Some benefits include: 


  • Aiding mobility 
  • Assisting with tasks 
  • Providing anxiety relief 
  • Providing companionship 


A service dog can help with physical and emotional disabilities. For instance, if you experience fear and anxiety in crowds, the dog can perform blocking tasks to separate you from other people. Other service dogs serve as guides for those who are sight-impaired. 


The Difference Between Emotional Support and Service Dogs 


When you decide to get a service dog, it’s important for you, as well as your friends and family, to understand the difference between your dog and an emotional support animal. 


Emotional support animals offer companionship and emotional stability to their humans. They are not trained to perform specific tasks, as service dogs are. Instead, their mere presence is enough to provide comfort and reduce stress. If their human has anxiety, they may lean against them or rest their head in their lap. Emotional support animals can be any type of animal, but dogs are the most common. 


Service dogs, on the other hand, are specifically trained to perform tasks that their human cannot do for themselves. For example, a service dog for a blind person may be trained to guide them around obstacles. A service dog for a person with epilepsy may be trained to sense when a seizure is about to happen and alert the person or nearby help. Service dogs must undergo intense training and meet strict standards before they can be certified. In addition, service dogs must be recertified on a regular basis to keep their skills sharp. Because of the special skills and training required, service dogs generally cost more than emotional support animals. 


The Bond Between a Dog and Handler 


Your dog may have additional needs mentioned by your dog's trainer. Make sure to acquire any supplies he or she instructs you to obtain. According to experts, dogs require extensive training before becoming service animals. Your dog may be two years old before he receives certification. Following formal training, you must keep up with basic commands. All dogs should have basic manners in public and plenty of socialization. 


Bonding with your dog requires more than extensive training. When you bring your dog, focus on the bond between you. Try to limit as much stress as possible. Dogs can read emotions and become sensitive to their owners' stress levels. The new situation could lead to poor behavior. Try to keep family and friends calm for the dog's sake. Set aside time to play to strengthen the bond between you and your service dog. Playing with your dog and spending time with the pup can help develop a bond. 


Pay attention to the dog's body language and plan your actions accordingly. Dogs use their body language to communicate with you. Dogs that lean away from you, back up, or show their teeth want to be left alone. Look for signs of stress in your dog so you can act accordingly. When you respect a dog's boundaries, he may bond more with you. 


The Care for Your Service Dog 


Before the dog enters your home, you must prepare with the basics. Make sure you have the right food. Look for dog food with balanced nutrients and few fillers. In addition, look at the food that suits specific needs. For instance, if your pup is still growing, you need food that helps with growth and development. 


Look into supplies that you know you'll need. For instance, if you go to the lake regularly or own a boat, you may have to look into a life jacket for your pup. While dogs can swim, they cannot always swim strong enough to save themselves. Some other dog supplies include: 


  • Treats 
  • Chew toys 
  • Fetch toys 
  • A crate 
  • Puppy-proofing supplies 
  • Food bowls 
  • Dog collars and leashes 


Make sure you connect with a vet before bringing your pet home to ensure you have a place to bring your dog to regular appointments. 


Check the reviews of any of the products you purchase for your dog. Read in-depth product reviews from unbiased websites and sources. 


A service dog can provide companionship and help people who need to live an independent life. When you have a dog to help you with different tasks, you can bring him everywhere. 


Bethel Community Pet Hospital offers a complete range of veterinary services including but not limited to: physical examinations, diagnosis and treatment, spay/neutering, vaccinations, dental care, surgical care, radiology, bloodwork, parasite prevention/control, and more. Call 513-734-7297. 


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