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Service Dog and ESA Breed Restrictions Take Lift Off by Airlines

It’s always important to understand your rights when it comes to your service or emotional support animal (ESA). Understanding the rules and guidelines of living or traveling with your animal can make life a lot easier. However, sometimes these rules and guidelines can become confusing when one entity has its own set of rules, and the federal government has another. This gray area has become apparent when it comes to flying with an ESA or service animal. You may have heard recent news headlines referencing emotional support dogs, and how certain airlines are hoping to put restrictions on specific breeds. If you were confused by these announcements, you’re not alone. Here’s a quick summary to help you understand everything you need to know about the new guidelines for flying with a service or emotional support animal.

Airlines Are Prohibited from Banning Certain Breeds

When Delta Airlines attempted to put a ban on “pit bull-like breeds,” it received pushback from the US Transportation Department. The department puts out guidelines that clearly state that airlines are not allowed to place breed restrictions on service dogs or emotional support dogs. This news comes after an airline crew member was bitten by an emotional support animal and required five stitches. However, the airline did not disclose the breed of the dog that was involved in the incident.

Airlines Are Allowed an Individualized Assessment

Even though airlines cannot simply ban certain animal breeds, they are allowed to review emotional support dogs on a case-by-case basis. For instance, if you’re attempting to buy a ticket to fly with your emotional support animal, any airline can require you to purchase the ticket in person and bring your emotional support dog in for a review. They want to make sure that the animal does not pose a risk to other passengers or airline crew members.

Concerns About Fraudulent ESA’s

Much of this debate stems from concerns that some passengers are abusing the emotional support animal system that the US Transportation Department has in place. They’ve stated that many online ESA companies aren’t following proper protocols when it comes to registering an animal. This has led to many people who are not in need of an ESA to register animals that aren’t fit to fly. Over a million passengers have flown with service animals or emotional support animals over the last year. Unfortunately, there’s been a spike in incidents with untrained animals biting or misbehaving on flights. Because of this, most airlines will require animals to be reviewed individually before entering a flight.

How to Properly Register Your Animal

If you’d like to register your dog or animal to be an ESA, it’s important to go with legitimate registry systems, such as the National Service Animal Registry. We can help you understand how to properly register your animal, how to receive a certified ESA vest for your animal, and what your rights are.

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Training Your Service Dog for Anxiety: Steps to Follow

Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. Millions of people suffer from severe anxiety every year. Thankfully, we’ve recently discovered that trained service dogs can provide a lot of comfort and relief for those who experience regular anxiety or panic attacks. If you believe that you can benefit from having an emotional support dog to help ease your anxiety, you’ve come to the right place! Below is a brief step-by-step guide to help you choose and train your emotional support dog and receive a registered emotional support dog letter.

#1 Choosing the Right Dog for You

You may be a lover of all dog breeds, but there are particular breeds out there that are better fit for comfort and support. It’ll all come down to a dog’s temperament, which is basically a combination of his personality, instinctual behavior, and natural ability to follow instructions. This means that you may want to avoid breeds that are more aggressive or hyper. Experts recommend looking for dogs that are social, alert, focused, and don’t become easily startled. When you meet a new puppy, you’ll most likely know right away if it’s the right service dog for you!

#2 Begin the Bonding Process

It’s important for you and your dog to get to know each other while he’s still a youthful pup! He needs to understand your behavior and personality just as much as you need to understand his. When you start to bond, you can begin to lay the groundwork for his job, which is to detect your rising anxiety levels. The more time you spend together, the more he’ll start to understand this and be able to detect the difference between your relaxed state and your anxious state.

#3 Begin Basic Training

Remember that your service dog will be able to accompany you in public places, so it’s incredibly important for him to be properly trained. He should be able to follow basic commands such as sit, stay, lay down, heel, and come. It’s common for this to be a bit difficult for dog owners, especially if they’ve never trained a dog before. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional dog trainer to help guide you through the basic training process.

#4 Begin Anxiety Response Training

Once you and your dog have had time to bond and perfect basic commands, you can start to target his response to your anxiety. You can do this in a number of different ways, such as cuddling him when anxiety hits or giving him a treat when you feel anxious. He’ll naturally start to pick up on the change in your energy and begin to understand that he should remain close when you’re experiencing anxiety.

#5 Register Your Service Dog

Once you feel your dog is prepared to be an official emotional support dog or service dog, then it’s time to get him registered! Our website has all the information you need to properly register your dog and receive your emotional support dog letter. We also provide therapist referrals, information on housing rights, and even emotional support products for your pup!

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What Dogs Make the Best Service Dogs: An In-Depth Analysis

Service dogs are becoming more common and accepted nowadays. It’s clear that a service dog can offer physical, mental, and emotional support throughout your day. If you’ve been thinking about getting a service dog, it’s important to find the right breed to give you the support that you need. But with all of the different breeds out there, how do you decide what kind of dog would be the right service dog for you? It’s essential to take your time and do your research when it comes to choosing the right service dog. Choosing the wrong kind of dog can be a waste of time and money. It can also be emotionally taxing to attempt to train a dog that’s not the right fit. Here’s an in-depth analysis explaining how to find the right furry pal for you.

Reflect on Your Own Needs

When attempting to find the right service dog for you, it’s important to reflect on what it is that you want out of a service dog. For instance, if you’re facing physical challenges and you don’t feel comfortable leaving the house without some sort of assistance, a bigger breed could be right for you. Larger breeds, like Golden Retrievers or German Shepherds, can offer strength and balance when navigating your neighborhood. If you’re looking for an emotional support dog that can sense anxiety and offer you a sense of calm, be sure to look for breeds that have a gentle temperament. What’s most important at this stage is to know how a service dog can help you personally.

Consider Your Environment and Lifestyle

Once you’re aware of the goals you have with a service dog, then you can start to narrow down your search. Next, it’s important to take your environment and lifestyle into consideration. This can help you to choose the right size dog and one that fits well in your climate. For instance, if you live in a warm climate that’s hot most of the year, it’s important to find a breed that can handle the heat. If your dog is consistently uncomfortable, he or she may not make the best support companion. Also, take your lifestyle into consideration. If you travel often, dogs under 25 pounds are the most convenient to keep by your side when you’re on the go.

Match Your Energy Levels

Remember that different breeds have different energy levels. This is one common mistake that many people make when choosing a support dog. It takes time and energy to train a dog. If a dog is hyper, training stages require more time and energy than you may think. If you want an intelligent dog to help with daily tasks, Border Collies could be an excellent choice. However, it’s important to know that Border Collies also require a lot of attention and exercise. If you suffer from fatigue or other disabilities that keep you stationary, a high-energy dog could end up causing more stress in your life. Before you complete service dog registration, speak to the experts at places like the National Service Animal Registry to explore your options and assure yourself you’ve made the right choice. Contact a representative today!

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Choosing the Right Food for Your Emotional Support Dog

The importance of a good diet really can’t be stressed enough. The absolute best way to maintain excellent health for your furry friend is to provide an excellent diet of high quality food. But choosing the best food for your emotional support dog can feel like an overwhelming proposition, especially with so much marketing out there urging you towards one brand or another.

So how do you choose the right food for your pup?

Diet can be tricky. There are a lot of factors to consider and a ton of junk to wade through. It can be tempting to just give Fido the cheapest kibble on the shelf and call it good. But if you want to ensure your wagging bestie has the highest quality of life—and protect yourself from crazy medical expenses down the line—it’s well worth making the effort to figure out the healthiest diet.

Here’s a list that can serve as a gentle guide as you consider the options. First thing’s first is to know your dog, know yourself and have a basic understanding of what the options even are.

What’s Right For Your Emotional Support Dog?

First, consider the dog in question: age, sex and breed may all make a difference in which diet will be best for your particular hound. Is your dog breeding? A female who is pregnant or lactating will likely have special nutritional needs for example. Likewise, a puppy has different nutritional needs than an adult dog, just as a senior dog has different needs again.

For instance, greyhounds are a breed that is particularly susceptible to bloat—a dangerous condition that is exacerbated by dry food. Therefore, a wet diet is in order for this beautiful dog. Allergies are another thing again. If your emotional support dog has allergies, you’ll want to adjust the diet to fit your particular pooch.

Here’s a quick list of some general considerations. For specifics, it is always helpful to ask your vet for suggestions and guidance. Even better, talk to a dog nutritionist who is specifically trained in canine diet.

Puppies

Puppies are eating machines and are usually fed more food and more frequently than an adult dog. There’s good reason for this: puppies are growing and thus need a more calorie dense diet. They have a need for more fat, more vitamins and more minerals. Puppies also need ample amounts of omega 3 fatty acids to support brain and eye development. They basically just need MORE, since all their organs and body systems are ravenous, eager to strengthen and grow. It’s important when choosing a food to be sure you’re choosing a diet specific to their age, since a kibble designed for an adult won’t provide the same range of nutrients that is required for a wee one.

Senior emotional support dogs

When it comes to senior emotional support dogs, you have to consider an entirely opposite range of issues. Unlike the growing puppy who needs ample food, a senior dog has a metabolism that has significantly slowed down. Therefore, they need less fat and less calories.

An old dog has a weakening immune system and may have arthritis. There are diets designed specifically for supporting these ailments. For example, a dog with heart problems will likely be given a reduced sodium diet. A dog with kidney disease will need proteins that are easily digestible. Antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids are always a good idea for the senior dog, since they will help keep the immune system strong.

Allergies

Allergies are very specific to the individual dog. If you have a emotional support dog that suffers from gut or skin and fur issues, there’s a good chance he has allergies. But just what food is causing the negative response?

There are diets designed specifically for discovering the culprit of his allergies. Basically, it works by feeding your emotional support dog only a single protein and NO fillers for two weeks. Then you switch it up, to another single protein, all while watching your dog’s energy levels, skin issues and stool. One dog may need a diet wholly based on white fish, for instance, while another is much better with chicken. Science diet is a brand of kibble designed to assist in this process.

What’s Right For You?

In addition to considering your emotional support dog’s personal needs, you’ll also want to consider your own needs. For instance, what is in your budget? And what’s convenient? You may want to feed your emotional support dog a raw food diet, but it’s either too expensive to pay out of pocket or too inconvenient to prepare the meals yourself. Perhaps you could strike a balance between a raw and kibble diet, something that both satisfies your desire to provide good nutrition for your furry one, and won’t lead resentment for the time, money and effort put into it.

A good rule of thumb is to consider your budget first. What is the most you can afford to invest in your emotional support dog’s diet? Then, choose three brands of food within your range to experiment with. Try each one for about 3 weeks, all the while watching your dog’s energy levels, stool and over all well being. You’ll have some good information to make an educated choice by the end of your food experiment.

How to Choose a Brand You Can Trust

With a huge plethora of brands spanning our wonderful capitalist market, picking one that is ethical, safe and healthy can be a chore. There are plenty of junk food pet brands that lead to pet obesity. In fact, dog obesity is a leading cause of dog death, since it leads to diabetes and all kinds of other health complications.

You will definitely want to steer clear of the brands that cut corners and do not have the health of your emotional support dog in mind.

You can narrow down your research by consulting your vet or your local pet store. They will be a wealth of information, helping you to choose the brand that is both the healthiest and in line with your budget.

Here are some basic guidelines to keep in mind when perusing the well stocked pet food aisle:

What’s the first ingredient?

Generally, pay attention to the first ingredient listed—is it a grain? Or an animal? The first ingredient listed makes up the highest content in the food. The second ingredient makes up the second highest content, and so on. The first ingredient should be a meat like chicken, lamb or fish and should account for over 25% of the total ingredients. 50% or more is even better.

Steer away from high carb brands—dogs have a hard time digesting a ton of gluten. This means if the first ingredient is a grain, move down the line. Dogs are designed to eat carcasses, not bread.

The more animal protein the better. A good brand will be specific in the ingredients, and may even give percentages of each, which is fantastic (i.e. 45% salmon, 25% herring, etc). A sketchy brand will be very vague and list ingredients like, “meat, vitamins, additives, oils, flavors, etc”. Umm, gross.

You do not want to leave it up to guess work what is going into your emotional support dog’s belly.

The more protein the dog food has, the more efficiently your emotional support dog will be able to digest it. Your dog’s body has no use for filler. Filler can include things like corn bran, rice bran, nut hulls, oat hulls, feathers and even straw. It literally leads to not only more dog poop, but smellier dog poop, as well as more gas, since your emotional support dog’s body has to discard all the useless crap (pun intended) that it just ate. A cleaner yard and a break for your nose is a good reason in itself to upgrade your emotional support dog’s diet.

What Do the Labels Signify?

Here’s a quick intro to what you can expect from economy, regular and premium dog foods.

Economy

Basic dog foods are the junk food of the pet market. Their primary ingredient is made up of fillers like corn, wheat and ground up byproducts. There is very little regulation in the safety of pet foods, so frequently the grains used in these pet foods have been condemned for human consumption and sloughed off onto the animals we call friends. The toxicity can include hazardously high amounts of pesticides in the grains and 4D labeled meat. 4D meat stands for: dead, dying, diseased or disabled. Not the highest quality.

Dogs do have amazing stomachs, however, and are designed to consume rotting flesh, so it’s probably they can handle some amount of the dead, dying and diseased without adverse effects. Still, it’s a bit questionable how much healthy protein they’re getting from unhealthy animals.

Regular

A step up from economy, regular dog foods source their main protein from meat (as opposed to a grain). However, protein may not be the primary ingredient. This label still contains additives, but has a higher digestibility rating than economy class foods.

Premium

Premium brand dog foods have a meat protein as the primary ingredient. The meat may still come from iffy byproducts, but at least your emotional support dog is getting a high meat diet.

Super-Premium

Currently the highest official standard of dog food, super-premium brands have NO filler (including no ground meat byproducts or corn). These dog foods are by far the healthiest, as they are made from fresh, quality, whole meat.

Holistic

A subcategory of Super-premium, Holistic dog foods contains whole vegetables and fruits in addition to whole meat (such as sweet potato, pumpkin and berries).

Ingredients to Watch Out For

It’s also a good idea to have a general understanding of which ingredients to avoid and which ones might sound funny, but are actually really good!

Good Ingredients

Fish oil, animal fat (usually chicken) and liver are excellent. Vitamin E oil is a preservative used by high quality commercial food and A-OK for the pooch. Other helpful additives include rosemary extract, vitamin C and tocopherols.

Bad Ingredients

Corn and it’s derivative (corn meal, maize gluten, CGM). Corn is particularly damaging if it is in the first 3 ingredients (since that means there is far too much of it) but lesser amounts may be ok depending on the dog. Corn is fattening and leads to all kinds of health problems, including allergy development. Best to keep the corn out all together if you can help it.

Wheat is another grain dogs really don’t have much use for. It is high in gluten, which canine bodies aren’t built to digest.

Peas are ok in small quantities, but can cause painful flatulence if the percentage is too high.

There’s no need for artificial dyes or flavorings, so steer away from these mysterious chemicals.

Also, be aware of the preservatives used. These three ingredients are TOXIC: butylhydroxyanisole, butylhydroxytoluene and ethoxyquin.

While these preservatives have been outlawed for human consumption because they have been shown to cause cancer and immune system disorders, they still have not been banned from dog foods. Any pet food that uses one of these preservatives does not have your emotional support dog’s health in mind (and who wants to support unethical companies anyway?)

And of course, while reading the list of ingredients, you’ll want to pay attention to any allergies specific to your emotional support dog.

What About Raw, Wet and Dry Food Options?

Raw:

Raw food is a great option if you are up for it. It is the closest to a dog’s natural diet and provides a high degree of bio available nutrition including live enzymes. A raw food diet will be naturally low in carbs and lead to better gut and dental health.

You don’t need to worry about dangerous pathogens of raw meat, because dogs have strong bellies designed for digesting. Any harmful pathogens will pass right through a dog’s digestive tract.

One of the perks of the raw diet is that your emotional support dog’s poop will be less smelly than with conventional foods. This is because this diet is so efficient that the dog’s body will utilize every bit of food going in, leaving only powdered bone (and some other stuff!) to come out the other end. Actually, their poop should also become harder on a raw diet, which is a good thing as it maintains healthy anal glands. A dog’s anal glands should release every time they poop, but because kibble tends to make stool soft, the glands don’t release and then they get blocked. This can lead to the “scooting” that some dogs do.

The bone in a raw food diet also acts as a tooth cleaner and as a fiber—yay!

The main challenge with a raw food diet is being sure to keep it balanced. If you’re game, this can be a really fun, educational, “homestead in your own kitchen” activity. Or, if that’s not your thing, it can be a terrible chore. Luckily, because there are so many great raw food pet brands coming out, you don’t have to put quite so much sweat and effort into providing a raw diet for your emotional support dog!

Freeze dried: Freeze dried food is often a part of the raw food diet. It is raw food that has had the moisture evaporated, making it stable and transportable, while retaining the nutritional density of straight raw meat. Just rehydrate (or feed as is!).

Canned: Wet food is the next best option to raw food. It contains more meat protein than kibble, less carbs, and because of the airtight packaging, no preservatives. It has twice as much fat and protein and is less processed. It is more hydrating and has more nutrients. However, it is less convenient and definitely messier than kibble. It must be refrigerated and used within a few days of opening.

Kibble: It can be hard to believe that kibble has only been around for a few decades in the current world of kibble craze. It is assumed that kibble offers the best, most balanced diet for our pets, since it is essentially like taking a vitamin. The problem is that the vitamin lacks food.

With frequent kibble recalls due to salmonilla or chemical contaminants, kibble is not even safer than other options. Dogs definitely take less personal enjoyment out of their dry, super processed meals and the high carb content leads to poor teeth and gum health.

On the other hand, kibble is no doubt the most convenient way to feed your emotional support dog. In the very least, use a high grade kibble and mix up the meat content: give them chicken one week and lamb the next. Variety improves nutrition intake.

Conclusion

It’s not so hard to feed your emotional support dog a high protein and high nutrition diet. You could have fun fashioning a combination diet of raw, wet and dry foods! Or get guidance from your vet. Just be aware of the definite ingredients you want to steer away from, and then observe the vibrancy of your pup. If they are energetic and happy, you’re doing something right!

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Service Dog Training: Everything You Need to Know

For those who benefit from physical, emotional, or medical assistance throughout daily life, a properly trained service dog can be an incredible asset. Not every animal is qualified to become a service dog, as service dogs must offer a combination of the proper temperament to serve, the acute skills to perform tasks for their owners, and the ability to complete the rigors of service dog training. Service dog training is intense, but it’s critical for dogs to confidently perform the desired tasks and aid their owners with potentially life-saving skills.

But what is involved in the proper training of a service dog? Service dog registration doesn’t necessarily qualify a dog to perform the role of a service animal, as both dog and owner must be confident in the animal’s ability to perform. There are many questions that the average person may have regarding service animal training, such as how much it costs and what role the owner must play in the training regimen. Keep reading to learn more about the training of service dogs.

How Long Does It Take?

While the average dog obedience class may be completed in a matter of weeks, service dog training requires a greater depth of knowledge and a far more rigorous training schedule. After all, for many who depend on service animals, a dog’s ability to consistently perform can mean the difference between life and death. While there’s no set time for service dog training, the training window can typically last between one and two years, depending on the aptitude of the animal and the types of tasks it’s being trained to perform.

What’s Involved in Service Dog Training?

There are two primary components within the service dog training regimen. Those two components are public access behaviors and work and tasks. Public access behaviors are important because they allow your dog to be steady and perform its designated tasks, no matter the situation or environment. For example, your dog must be able to perform in a quiet library or a noisy crowd with equal aplomb. Also, your dog must be able to behave itself well in public to avoid being removed from venues. The second half of the training equation is work and tasks. Those terms refer to the specific tasks your service dog will be trained to perform on your behalf. In other words, work and tasks are the disability-mitigating functions that the dog performs for you. Work and tasks also are important because they distinguish service dogs from emotional support animals and non-service animals. That is the component that qualifies a service dog owner for protections against discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

How Much Does Service Dog Training Cost?

Because of the depth of training that a service dog must undergo, the costs of acquiring a service dog can be quite high, whether you purchase an appropriate dog, and have it trained or buy a pre-trained dog from a service dog program. When comparing the two options, it’s important to note the cost of preliminary veterinary care, the cost of the dog, and the cost to feed and outfit your animal. However, the training costs themselves can range from $1000 to $2000 depending on the length of training and the range of tasks the dog is being trained to perform.

What Is the Owner’s Role in Training?

While a service dog is usually trained by a professional or service dog program, there is a role that must be played by the service dog owner. For many tasks, it’s important that the service dog is in tune with your medical and mental state, which means it must spend time with you to learn your baseline emotional or physiological state. During training, your dog will be attentive and more likely to absorb those cues, which is why it’s important that the owner is accessible to the dog during the training process.

Whether you plan to train or buy a service dog, it’s important that you understand the role played by the owner in training, the associated costs, the length of training, and what is involved with the program. To learn more about service dog training, contact the National Service Animal Registry at (866) 737-3930.

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Summer is Coming! Protect your Service Dog & ESA

At last, summer is on its way! Dog lovers everywhere will be enjoying the outdoors making the most of long sunny days. You’ll be walking in the park, cranking down the car windows to feel the wind rush in, enjoying a lazy drink on the deck with your Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal curled up at your feet.

Taking care of your service dog in the summer, however, can sometimes be a challenge. As temperatures start to rise, our canine friends can find the heat, sun, and humidity hard to cope with. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from dehydration, skin problems, and even heat stroke.

People with Service Dogs and ESA’s need to take extra special care as our canine partners often work long hours, are constantly alert, and do complex activities all day long. We know how cranky we can get when it’s hot – and we’re not wearing a fur coat!

While summer is a great opportunity to get outside, exercise and enjoy the world, we also need to be aware of the risks. How can we take care of our Service Dogs when the temperatures soar?

How Dogs Keep Cool Naturally

First, it’s important to understand how dogs normally keep cool. Humans produce sweat to regulate their body temperature. Did you know dogs produce sweat only from their paws? The main ways dogs keep cool are by panting, direct contact with a cool surface, and drinking water.

Dogs are naturally pretty good at taking care of themselves. Their fur coat keeps them warm in the winter but it’s also a very good natural sunscreen, stops their skin from drying out and helps keeps their body temperature down. When the temperatures begin to rise, you might need to lend a helping hand to keep our canine friends cool.

What are the dangers of too much sun for our Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals?

Skin Problems

No one likes the idea of walking around in the hot sun with a fur coat on. Our instinct might be to cut or even shave our dog’s coat to help them keep cool. Remember though, your dog’s fur protects them from the sun and stops their skin from drying out, so keep them clipped but don’t go too close to the skin. Just like humans, dogs can get skin cancer, so keep an eye on exposed areas such as their noses and the tips of their ears – and use a good vet-approved pet sunscreen for extra protection. Dogs with short, light-colored fur are especially prone to sunburn.

If your Service Dog or ESA has shaggy fur on their paws, keep this a little longer than the rest of their coat as it will protect their paws from the sun. Keep their coat clean and well brushed.

Dehydration and Breathing

You may notice when a dog is really hot their tongue swells, increasing its surface area and helping them to cool down faster, as it pants. If the panting starts to sound labored or they start to gag, it’s time to get your dog into the shade and give them water and a rest so they can recover. If you have any doubts, seek the advice of a vet as soon as possible.

By the way, although it sounds like an old wives’ tale, it really is true that dog’s noses should be wet. A dry nose could be a sign of dehydration.

Paw Care

Although nature has equipped your Service Dog and Emotional Support Animal with pads on their paws that act as natural shoes, when temperatures really start to rise, be aware how hot the surface is and remember some surfaces are hotter than others.

Be careful of any black surfaces, but particularly asphalt as it radiates heat and can actually burn your dog’s paws if it’s been exposed to hot sunlight for any length of time. A hot surface will also lead to a rise in your dog’s body temperature and might make them overheat.

It might seem a bit wacky, but the easiest way to test if the ground is too hot for your dog to walk on is to feel it with your hands or, better still, your bare feet. If it’s too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for them. On particularly hot days, allow your dog to walk on the grass as much as possible.

Check your dog’s paws regularly for signs of blistering and splitting. Walking on hot surfaces can cause dryness so if you notice this is a problem it’s a good idea to invest in some veterinary-approved wax that will protect the paw pads in both winter and summer. Boots are also available and can help protect your dog’s paws from strong heat but remember your dog sweats from their paws so make sure they are ventilated, or they may get a bacterial infection. In addition, if air can’t circulate, this will make your dog hotter. Remember, if your dog has shaggy fur on their paws, this is nature’s way of providing insulation, so don’t cut it too short.

Tiredness

We all get a little cranky in the heat, especially if we have to work, and it’s no different for your Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal. On hot days allow them a little grace. It might take them longer to do the things your dog normally does, and they might need more rest.

Heat Stroke

In severe cases, dogs can suffer from heat stroke, just like humans, and this can be extremely dangerous. Heat stroke occurs when the body has a rapid and uncontrollable rise in temperature, which can be caused by dehydration and heat exhaustion from over-exertion, and not taking in enough water before and during exercise. A dog’s normal body temperature is 100-103. This can rise to 107 with heat stroke which can be life-threatening.

Some breeds are more prone to heat stroke than others, such as dogs with short nasal passages like bulldogs and pugs; particularly those that suffer from Brachycephalic Syndrome. Dogs with heart, lung and respiratory conditions such as Laryngeal Paralysis, and dogs that are overweight will also suffer more. Older dogs and smaller dogs are also more prone to sunstroke as they are less resilient.

How to Spot Signs of Distress in Our Service Dogs and ESA’s

The most common symptoms of heat stroke to be aware of are excessive panting and drooling as dogs produce extra saliva when they need to cool down quickly. They may also vomit and /or have diarrhea. Your dog might lie down frequently and unexpectedly if they need a break. It might be unusually clumsy, stumble or even have a seizure. They might have a racing heartbeat. Watch out for these symptoms and take them into the shade for a rest and a drink. If they collapse, seek help from a vet immediately.

What to do if you think your Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal has heat stroke:

  • Act quickly
  • Move them to a cool area
  • Try to stop them from lying down. Keeping them moving will allow the cooler blood that is at the surface of their body to circulate which will help their body temperature drop
  • Soak towels in water or use whatever material you might have to hand and lay this on their coat, as direct skin exposure to water will also help them transfer the heat from their body
  • Give your dog small drinks of water at room-temperature. However tempting it is, don’t give them iced water as a sudden intake of cold water can cause distress to their heart
  • Allow them time to rest and recover
  • If in doubt, see a veterinarian as soon as possible

How to Help your Service Dog or ESA Keep Cool

So when the temperatures really ramp up, what can we do to keep our Service Dogs and ESA’s cool and prevent heat stroke?

Provide Shade

Dogs are very good at seeking out shade, so while we’re used to our Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal walking down the middle of a path, be aware that they might be more comfortable seeking out the shadows. Make sure there is shade for them both when you are at home and when you’re out and about.

Never leave your dog in a parked car on a hot day. Temperatures can soar very quickly to dangerous levels. If you leave them at home, think about drawing the curtains so they can escape from the sun streaming through the windows.

Air Conditioning

While you might be tempted to escape the heat and hunker down in the aircon, don’t rely on this too much too soon. As soon as the days start getting warmer, begin to acclimate your Service Dog by taking it outside each day. This provides the opportunity to get used to the increase in temperature. When you’re going out by car, try to lower the windows rather than using air-conditioning, so your dog has time to get used to the temperature during the journey.

Cool Gadgets

There are many useful products available to help keep your Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal cool. Make sure their vest is made from a material that transfers heat, such as mesh or nylon. National Service Animal Registry offers very lightweight service vests. Some vests come with cooling pockets or pockets where you can fit gel-packs. Otherwise, get a vest that you can soak in water as this will allow them to keep cool down for longer. There are also a variety of bandanas, cool beds and cool collars available.

Never leave the house without a supply of water and invest in a foldable bowl or a water bottle that doubles as a bowl. When it gets hot, think about treating your Service Dog to a kid’s pool so they can enjoy cooling off in the tub. If you live near the beach, lake or river, be aware that although dogs instinctively know how to swim, they are not necessarily strong swimmers. Be careful of currents and keep your eye on them when they are in the water.

Water

Dogs drink more water for their weight than humans, and this is a key method they use to cool down. Make sure the water you give them is room temperature rather than iced as very cold water can cause stress for your dog’s heart. It’s okay to give them an ice-cube as a treat, though, as this will melt and warm up before they ingest it. You might also want to fill a Kong with wet food and freeze it to make the perfect doggie-popsicle.

Protect Against Parasites

In hot weather, parasites multiply faster, and if your Emotional Support Animal is spending more time outdoors, especially in grass or undergrowth, they might be more likely to pick up something nasty. Make sure they are protected against common parasites such as Heartworm, Lyme Disease, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Ask your vet if you’re not sure.

What to Do in Severe Heat with Your Service Dog or ESA

When it gets very hot outside, over 90 degrees or when the National Weather Service has issued a warning, keep your dog inside, and make sure there is plenty of shade in the house for him or her to enjoy. Manage your schedule so you avoid going out in the hottest part of the day and make time to exercise them when the sun is low. Make sure there is always plenty of water for them to drink.

Final Thoughts

We depend so much on our Service Dogs and ESA’s. They keep us safe, provide us with companionship, and do many tasks that we find difficult. As your partner, you know your dog best. What are their needs? Do they have a thick dark coat that traps the heat so needs a pool to splash in or regular sprinkler-time? Are they getting a little older, or do they have any medical conditions that mean he’s more prone to heat stroke? Do you need to invest in a new cool-vest, or some pet-sunscreen to protect any exposed skin?

The summer is a perfect opportunity to get out and about with your Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal and really enjoy the outdoors together. Bear these safety tips in mind and get prepared so you can make the most of the long sunny days with your canine partner.

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Are Emotional Support Vests Necessary for Cats?

While most people have emotional support dogs, emotional support animals can actually be members of any species. Cats are the second most common type of ESA, and many people with emotional or mental health issues rely on their feline friends for comfort and to minimize the symptoms of their disorder. If you have a cat for an ESA, you might be wondering if you should invest in an ESA vest, as well as wondering where such a vest might be required. Keep reading to learn more.

Not Required by Law

First and foremost, as an ESA owner, it’s important that you’re aware of your rights. It isn’t required by law for your ESA-be it a dog, cat, or any other animal-to wear a vest indicating that they are an emotional support animal. Whether your ESA is in your home or on a plane with you, vests aren’t required for you to claim the benefits of owning an ESA. So, if someone has given you the impression that you’re legally required to get an ESA vest for your cat, please be aware that this isn’t true.

Practical Benefits

With that being said, having an ESA vest for your cat has many practical benefits. The largest benefit is that it very quickly and clearly indicates that your cat serves a specific purpose and that they’re much more than a pet to you. As mentioned earlier, dogs are the most common type of ESA, as well as almost exclusively fulfilling the role of service animal for those who require such assistance; this means that people are much more likely to accept a dog as an ESA without a visual indicator.

However, cats are less common, and they almost never serve as service animals. Because of this, most people view cats only as pets and don’t realize that cats can even be ESAs. When you put that ESA vest on your cat, you’re making it very clear to everyone around you that your cat isn’t just a pet. This can make things much easier when you’re traveling and may decrease the amount of pushback you experience when claiming your benefits as an ESA owner.

Using an ESA Cat Vest

It’s no secret that most cats don’t much appreciate being dressed up or restrained in any way. So if you’re planning on purchasing an ESA vest for your cat, it’s important that you give them time to adjust to wearing it before you attempt to take them anywhere with it on.

First, a proper fit will make the vest more comfortable for your cat and make it less likely that they’ll manage to slip out of it. This means you need to properly measure your kitty before purchasing a vest for them. You’ll need to measure around the thickest part of your cat’s torso using a measuring tape and measure the circumference of their neck. This should give you enough information to purchase an appropriately sized vest.

You’ll also want to purchase a vest made of a comfortable fabric. A cotton or polyester fabric is usually lightweight and breathable enough that it won’t bother your cat even in hot weather. And, as long as it’s appropriately sized and put on correctly, it won’t rub or irritate them either. Allow your cat to wear their new vest several times and ensure they’re comfortable in it before trying to travel with them wearing it.

If you’re looking for ESA vests for your cat, be sure to check out the different styles the National Service Animal Registry has available online.

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Sacramento, CA: A Great Place to Visit with Your Service Dog

Sacramento is the capital of California state, and is the fastest growing major city in California. Sacramento is still growing and developing, becoming a technological powerhouse and a source of visionaries, this city is a unique place to live, work and play.

If you are thinking about visiting this place with your service dog, or if you have an emotional support animal you like to keep with you, you may be wondering about visiting with a dog. Sacramento is a dog friendly location to visit, and there are lots of places you can visit with your four-legged friend, whether he has a job or not. Here are just a few of them.

Great places to eat

Sacramento is well known for its culinary circle, and if you love food, visiting some of the better restaurants is probably on your list. Many of these restaurants are open to service dogs only, but there are actually a few fabulous places to eat that are friendly to all dogs, including your emotional support animal. Here are two of them.

Waterboy

This amazing restaurant offers a taste of regional ingredients, and a carefully selected wine menu. Each dish is created to make the ingredients stand out by chefs that are regarded as some of the finest in Sacramento.

Dogs are also welcome here and are generally treated like kings. Expect at the very least a bowl of water for your service dog, and a corner on the patio just for them.

Capitol Garage

This eclectic hotspot for good eating has two patios, which increases the odds you’ll get a coveted dog friendly spot for your emotional support animal. Customers who have visited the restaurant with their dog report not only getting water for their dog, but often a treat too!

Your service dog will love chilling on the cool patio with a slice of bacon, while you enjoy one of a delicious selection available on the menu. Whether you’re looking for brunch, burgers, or beer, this place has what you and your dog needs.

Stay at a dog friendly hotel

If you want a great place to stay with your emotional support animal or a hard-working service dog, look no farther than The Citizen Hotel, a Joie de Vivre Boutique Hotel. This incredible hotel has gorgeous rooms, wonderful staff, and beautiful architecture—as well as plenty for your dog as well.

Directly across the street is an entire park for pet relief, walking, and general fun. Your dogs will be welcomed with treats at the front desk, and there is no additional pet fee for the dogs. It’s a wonderful place to stay, see so for yourself at 926 J St, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Let your service dog run at an off-leash dog park

If your emotional support animal or service dog needs some off-duty fun, you might want to visit the Tanzanite Community Dog Park at 2220 Tanzanite Way, Sacramento, CA, US, 95834. The beautiful, 2-acre off leash dog park has plenty of room for your dog to run. The dog park has plenty of other amenities, including water spigots, shade, benches, and lots of grass.

This is a popular dog park, but the atmosphere is usually relatively calm, so stop on by and let your dog run free before he goes back to hard work as your partner.

Take your dog to the Midtown Farmer’s Market

This year-round farmer’s market allows well behaved, leashed dogs. The market is open every Saturday all year round, except for when there is an 80% or greater chance of rain, or if wind at greater than 15mph is projected. According to their website, this happens about 3 times a year or less.

The farmer’s market has both vendors with handmade goods and farm fresh products, and generally has music, live demonstrations, and a kids play area to help liven things up.

This is a great place to stroll with your service dog as you check out the farm fresh eggs or homemade cheeses, but your well-behaved emotional support animal is welcome too. Visit at 1050 20th St, Sacramento, CA 95811.

Need supplies? Take your dog to Wagger’s

As you can imagine, Wagger’s is a dog boutique that has everything your emotional support animal needs to keep that tail wagging. They have full service grooming, as well as toys, treats, and other essentials. Voted one of the best dog boutiques in the area for over 9 years straight, this is a well liked business that will do right by your service dog.

You can visit at 2051 Arena Blvd 130 Sacramento, CA 95834. The friendly staff will be happy to help you with anything you might need for your dog.

Check out dog friendly Old Sacramento

Old Sacramento along the peer features an abundance of historical buildings, iconic hotels, and beautiful views along the waterfront. It’s a wonderful location along the Potomac river just to walk and admire the scenery, but there are dog friendly buildings you can take emotional support animals to, including restaurants with outdoor seating.

Most of the museums and other buildings admit service dogs only, but even if you just wander outside, you’ll enjoy this wonderful location. Stop by at 153 I St, Sacramento, CA, US, 95814.

Go hiking with your service dog

Just 30 minutes from Sacramento is the Quarry Road Trail. This beautiful trail is over 5 miles long, letting you and your service dog walk as much or as little as your fitness level allows. The trail is very wide, making it comfortable to pass other hikers, and it’s well worth the drive.

While there is closer hiking to Sacramento, and even some trails in Sacramento itself, these trails tend to be heavily trafficked by bikers, and many owners report being unable to enjoy the walk due to the speed and number of bikers passing them.

The Quarry Road Trail offers a welcome break from the concrete jungle, and you can visit with your loyal service dog at 501 El Dorado St. Auburn, CA 95603.

Sacramento is an exciting place to visit with your dog, and there are a large number of dog friendly locations you and your dog are welcome at. Don’t be afraid to book a visit today and see Sacramento for yourself.

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Tips for Selecting the Right Service Dog Vest

Choosing the right vest for your service dog is essential to ensure their success. Having a vest not only allows others to recognize a pet as a working dog, but also allows those with disabilities to go about their daily business without being questioned about their dog or disability. Though there are no official regulations about which gear a service animal must wear, many owners prefer vests and patches to signify their dog as a service animal. To find the right vest for your dog, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Keep reading to learn about the most important considerations for your dog’s vest.

Size of the Dog

First and foremost, you must ensure that the vest fits your dog correctly. If it is too small, it can dig into your dog’s skin and be uncomfortable. If it’s too big, your pup will be able to slip right out of it. To find the right size vest for your dog, you will need to measure them first. Typically, vest sellers post a size chart with the product description of the vest. They may also base the size of the vest on the dog’s weight, so be sure to have an accurate measurement of that too. If the sizing is based on measurements, you will need to measure your dog’s chest, neck, and the length of your dog.

To measure the chest, wrap the measuring tape around their body directly behind their front legs. Measure the neck around where their collar would be, adding an extra inch or two for more comfort. The length or top line of your dog is measured from the nape of their neck to the base of their tail. Keep in mind that the straps on the vests are usually adjustable, so you will be able to get a better fit for your dog if they don’t fit squarely into one category.

Practical Features

Next, consider the special features that the service dog vest offers. First, you should choose a vest that is easy for you to put on and take off, since you will be doing this often. You should also find a vest that is easy for you to attach a leash to. You may need a certain type of handle if the dog will be supporting you while you walk or pulling your wheelchair. You may also need a D-ring to make it easier for you to attach the leash. No matter what, make sure your needs are met so you can securely attach your dog to their leash when you are out.

Design Features

There are also specific features to look for that will make the vest more comfortable for your dog to wear for long hours. Try to find special features like breathable mesh lining, padded straps, and more. Some vests have even more advanced design features. These include Velcro straps, pockets to hold supplies, reflective elements, handles to help with mobility, and special patches.

Contact us (866) 737-3930 at the National Service Animal Registry to find the best vest for your service dog.

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Portland, OR: A Great Place to Visit with Your Service Dog

Portland, Oregon is a pet friendly location that loves seeing your companion animal. Whether your dog is a pet, an emotional support dog, or a service dog, you’ll find plenty of places you can go with your animal. Your service dog will love a little off duty time as part of your trip, and even if your dog is just a pet, he’ll still find lots of reasons to keep that tail wagging at these great places.

Hotel Monaco

If your just visiting, finding pet-friendly lodging can be a challenge in many different cities. A hotel cannot refuse your service dog, but if it is an emotional support dog the same rules don’t apply. Hotel Monaco is the perfect solution, as they accept any breed of dog regardless of size. Located on Southwest Washington Street, it’s just a 12 minute walk from the Portland Art Museum, and a couple of miles from the Japanese Garden.

Mt Tabor Dog Park

If your service dog is craving some off duty time, the Mt Tabor Dog Park has a little bit of everything. While you enjoy the exquisite views of a dormant volcano and old growth forest, your dog can meet with others in an off-leash park, as well as accompany you on on-leash adventures elsewhere in the park.

The rules are strict on where a dog may or may not be off leash, so pay close attention before releasing your dog. The dog park is located at 6336 SE Lincoln St and is open 5AM-Midnight.

Dog Friendly Eateries

While your service dog won’t have any problems getting into the restaurant of your choice, if you have an emotional support dog or just a pet, you’ll need to stick to dog friendly dining. Luckily, Portland has an abundance of dog friendly places you can eat.

A favorite among tourists and regulars alike is the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company. They have an outdoor patio that all dogs are welcome on, and regularly hold dog friendly events such as “Dogtoberfest” and “Barks and Brews.” If you’re interested in giving it a try, it is located on 7675 SW Capitol Hwy.

If you’re in the mood to spoil your service dog, the “Tin Shed Garden Cafe” not only has a dog patio, but a doggie menu! Located at 1438 NE Alberta St, Portland, your pet will delight in the treats they have in store.

Hip Hound

Regardless of whether you have a service dog, an emotional support dog, or a favorite friend, you’ll need to resupply your dog’s basic needs at some point. The Hip Hound is a trendy place you can get everything from natural dog food and grooming supplies to toys and treats. It is well liked due to how friendly the staff is, so if you have any questions you won’t have a problem getting help. Located at 610 NW 23rd Ave, Portland, they are our top recommended store.

Top rated medical care

Keeping your dog healthy is always important, but when you own a service dog or an emotional support dog, top tier health care becomes even more important.

Mt. Tabor Veterinary Care has it all when it comes down to good quality veterinary care for your dog. Each exam room is comfortably decorated to look like a living room, so your dog can feel more comfortable during his stay. On top of this, they offer top tier veterinary service, and a fear free clinic. Located at 4246 SE Belmont St., Suite 1, Portland, 97215 they are happy to give your service dog the loving care it needs.

Explore Washington Park

Washington Park is a huge 420 acre park that encompasses several different gardens, an arboretum, a children’s museum, and a zoo. It also has a number of hiking trails criss-crossing it, and much of the park is dog friendly.

If you love hiking and touring beautiful gardens, this is the perfect spot for you and your canine. Your emotional support dog or pet is welcome in the gardens and the arboretum on leash, but service dogs only for the zoo and museum.

If you are planning a visit to Oregon Zoo with your service dog, ask for a copy of their service dog map. Due to the strong reaction the animals may have, certain areas of the zoo are restricted even to service dogs, and other areas require you and your service dog to move through as quickly as possible for the safety of everyone. No kennels are available for service dogs should you want to visit these areas, so you may need to plan ahead.

A service dog vest may also be helpful here, in order for the zoo staff to help get you the map you need and other important information regarding the zoo right away.

You can visit all these wonderful things and more at 4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221.

Portland Saturday Market

There are few ways to make shopping more fun than visiting an open air market. The Portland Saturday Market features an abundance of vendors selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to homemade candles.

This market is special because it is nationally recognized as the largest continuous open air market in the United States. It’s also pet friendly, so feel free to take your emotional support dog along for the trip. You’ll also find lots of pet related booths, so if you were hoping to get something special for your service dog or emotional support dog, you may find it at one of the many booths available.

Despite the name, they are open both Saturday and Sunday, all year round. Visit at 108 West Burnside any weekend.

Portland, Oregon is a wonderful place for dog lovers to visit and live. If you’re planning a visit or a move to Portland, Oregon you’ll love these wonderful opportunities for you and your beloved animal to enjoy.