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Celebrating Service Dogs

September 1, 2022
September is National Service Dog Month! This is a wonderful time to raise awareness about service dogs. As these amazing pups become more common, so have some of the misconceptions about them. An Ellicott City, MD vet shines the spotlight on service dogs in this article.

What Is a Service Dog?

Service dogs are pups that have been specifically trained to help people with disabilities. These smart, wonderful pooches have helped thousands—perhaps millions—of people live independently. That’s pretty ‘pawesome!’

Benefits Of Service Dogs

Service dogs can make a truly remarkable difference in people’s lives. They provide some very tangible health benefits. For example, they can help prevent injuries, get their humans medication, or alert them to drops in blood sugar. Being able to live independently is also wonderful for one’s mental health, happiness, and overall quality of life.

Protections

Service dogs are protected by federal laws. Fido is allowed to go almost anywhere. The only exceptions are places such as laboratories and some hospital wards, simply because of the need to keep these environments completely sterile.

Types Of Service Dogs

Service dogs can be found working in quite a few different areas. Guide dogs—who were formerly called Seeing-Eye dogs—help people with partial or complete vision impairments. They may help their owners navigate around obstacles, fetch objects, or perform small tasks. Hearing dogs perform similar functions, but for people who are fully or partially deaf. Mobility dogs are paired with people who have trouble walking, and may need wheelchairs or walkers. There are also Medical Alert dogs, who are trained to detect allergens, or alert their humans to an oncoming seizure or a change in blood sugar. There are also service dogs that help with psychiatric issues, such as PTSD, anxiety, and schizophrenia. These amazing pups may help remind their humans to take medication, or calm them during panic attacks.

Interactions

Service dogs will generally be wearing a vest or harness that identifies them as such. These pups may be adorable, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to approach or pet them. Let Fido do his job! If one approaches you, however, he may be trying to get help for his human, and may want you to follow him. Only follow the dog if you feel safe doing so, but call 911 regardless. As your Ellicott City, MD animal clinic, we’re here to help. Please contact us anytime!

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