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Tampa, FL: A Great Place to Visit with Your Service Dog

If you’re craving a warm place with sparkling waters to rest and relax in, Florida is the perfect vacation spot. Tampa has a great mix of everything when it comes down to a city. It is a busy metropolis with lots of things to do and see, a hub of business for those who want to work as well as play, and yet is also home to some of the best beaches and recreation the United States has.

It’s also a dog friendly place that welcomes service dogs and emotional support animals in many of its venues. Here are just a few of the places you can take your dog, even if he isn’t a working animal.

Hungry? Here’s where you can get a bite to eat

While service dogs are welcome in every restaurant, things get trickier when you have an emotional support animal. Most emotional support animals are treated like ordinary pets, with laws protecting only their right to housing. Luckily, there are lots of places you can being your dog and still enjoy a bite to eat. Here are two of them.

Sail Pavilion on the Riverwalk

Whether you boat up or walk up, there is space available for you at this river front location. The Sail Pavilion has great views, a full bar, and a selection of salads, sandwiches, and a few appetizers too. Your service dog won’t be neglected either. There’s a place for him to go potty, stainless steel dog bowls, and even a treat or two. Visit them at 333 S Franklin St, Tampa, FL, US, 33602.

Jasmine Thai

If you want authentic Thai food, Jasmine Thai welcomes your dog at their outdoor table, even if they are an emotional support animal and not a service dog. Enjoy Tom Yum, Egg Rolls, and Pad Thai at this wonderful restaurant.

You can visit at 13248 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL, US, 33618.

Great place to stay

When you are traveling with a service dog, you can safely choose any hotel you want and know that they must accept your service dog. There are perks however, to choosing a dog friendly hotel. This includes knowing there will be green space available for your dog to do his business on, the rooms are likely to be on the lower floors for ease of getting your dog outside, and sometimes even treats and other goods for your dog.

If you’re traveling with an emotional support animal or a pet along with your service dog, it’s more important than ever to choose a dog friendly hotel. Westin Tampa Bay at 7627 Courtney Campbell Cswy, Tampa, FL 33607 is a very pet friendly hotel that provides your dog with amenities such as treats and bowls, and also has an on-site potty area. The pet rooms are all on lower floors, making this the perfect place to bring your pet.

Moving? Here’s a dog friendly apartment

If you need to bring along a pet who is not a service dog, or you want your emotional support animal to be comfortable in the apartments you choose, the Westwood Reserve is an amenity packed hotel that feels as if it is designed for dogs. It has its own private dog park, “The Bark Park” for your dogs to relax in, as well as lots of ordinary green space and pet friendly apartments.

Your service dog will feel right at home in this apartment, and you’ll love the easy beach access and other amenities.

Take your pet to the dog park

Dogs love to run and play together. If you have a service dog craving a little off duty fun, or you want to better socialize your emotional support animal, taking them to a dog park is an excellent way to give them the exercise and play time they need.

Tampa has many dog parks available, a local favorite being the West Park Dog Park at 6402 N Occident St, Tampa, FL, US, 33614. The park has water fountains, shelters, picnic tables, and even a dog wash in case he gets a little too muddy. It’s a wonderful place to take your service dog for a little fun, and visitors report the place is usually clean, a big plus.

Visit a trendy dog boutique

Your service dog or emotional support animal needs a number of items to maintain his level of comfort as he works for you. Whether you’re searching for high quality food or perhaps a new chew toy, chances are you’ll need a thing or two for your dog while he is out and about with you.

Wag Natural Pet Market at 304 E Davis Blvd, Tampa, FL 33606 has everything you need for your dog, plus grooming and other services. If you’re in Tampa and need to resupply, this is a great store to visit.

Take your service dog for a hike

One of the most popular hiking trails in Tampa is the Flatwood loop trail. This 7-mile-long loop located at 14302 Morris Bridge Rd. Thonotosassa, FL 33592 is paved, and leashed pets are permitted on the loop. This trail is paved and has restrooms and other amenities. There is a $2 fee for entering, but as many as 8 people can be in each vehicle without having to pay more.

Visit a Saturday Market with your dog

The Ybor City Saturday market, located at 1901 19th Street Tampa, FL 33605 is a unique market filled with handmade goods, fresh produce, and vendors who love to form long term relationships with their customers. They also welcome pets, which is rare in a farmer’s market.

They have everything from jewelry to farm fresh eggs and is a perfect way to spend the day with your beloved friend.

Tampa is the perfect place for service dogs, and a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the beach. No matter why you are headed to Tampa, there’s no doubt you will love visiting with your dog.

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Colorado Springs, CO: A Great Place to Visit with Your Dog

If you love spending time in the great outdoors with your service dog) or emotional support animal (ESA), you’ll love Colorado Springs, CO. Colorado Springs is known for its rugged, outdoor adventures and the dozens of activities available for both you and your ESA.

If you’re planning a visit or even a move to Colorado Springs, here are the top dog-friendly locations you need to know about.

Great places to eat

If you have a service dog, you probably don’t have a problem getting into a restaurant with your assistant. An ESA however is a different story. Emotional support animals (ESA) are not exempt from rules about animals in restaurants, and the only legal protection they get involves housing. Luckily if you have an emotional support animal (ESA) instead of a service dog, there are still plenty of dog-friendly eateries you can take your animal to.

Pub Dog Colorado

This pub is unique because not only can you dine with your dog, but you can even take your ESA or pet indoors with you. Most dog friendly restaurants prefer animals that are not service dogs to sit on an outdoor patio, and only service dogs are permitted inside. This is great news for dog lovers of all kinds and makes Pub Dog Colorado our top choice. You can check them out at 2207 Bott Ave.

Pizzeria Rustica

If you like eating sustainably, the Pizzeria Rustica is the right choice for you. This restaurant welcomes dogs on its outdoor patio. Pizzeria Rustica is a certified Green restaurant and has top tier service. If you love pizza and want to bring your ESA along for the ride, this is a great place to get quality pizza. You can find them at 2527 W Colorado Ave when you’re ready to visit.

Take your pet to a museum

Although your service dog is allowed in many places, an ESA is usually very restricted. If you want to experience a museum with your ESA, there actually is one in Colorado Springs that allows your dog to visit every nook and corner.

The Manitou Cliff Dwellings Museum is a dog friendly outdoor museum, that allows you to see the homes carved into the cliffs by civilizations long ago. These dwellings are over 800 years old, located at the foot of Pike’s Peak. You can visit with your furry friend at 10 Cliff Dwellings Rd, US Hwy 24 West, Manitou Springs.

Moving to Colorado Springs?

If you’re planning to make your stay in Colorado Springs a permanent one, you may be hoping to find dog friendly apartments for your stay. Service dogs and ESA cannot be refused as far as housing is concerned, but that doesn’t mean the apartments you are in will be comfortable for your service dog or ESA.

Pet friendly apartments usually have green spaces where you can take your dog potty, and sometimes even amenities specifically for your dog. Ridgeview Place, for example, has its own “Bark Park” specifically for their dog loving renters, making it one of the most pet friendly apartments available. You can visit yourself at 3310 Knoll Lane in Colorado Springs.

Bond with your dog at Bear Creek Dog Park

This huge 10-acre dog park has a number of amenities that make it stand out from other dog parks. Apart from the usual fenced in play areas, benches, and trails to walk on, Bear Creek also has an agility course for you and your dog to practice on. Located at S 21st St, this is a fun place for dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Enjoy Palmer Park with your service dog

One of the best parts about visiting or living in Colorado Springs is the huge number of outdoor activities readily at your fingertips. If you’d like to visit a beautiful park filled with excellent hiking opportunities, you’ll want to make Palmer Park a regular part of your stay.

Palmer Park is a 296-acre park that has over 25 miles of hiking trails on it, as well as a scenic overlook, a dog park, sports areas, and more. Elevation Outdoors Magazine named it Best Urban Park in its Best of Rockies 2017 list. You can visit it at 3650 Maizeland Rd. The hiking trails are leash free, so be aware of other animals approaching while visiting with your service dog.

Take a hike at The Garden of the Gods

If you’re going to hike, what better place to do so than Colorado Spring’s very own National Natural Landmark. The Garden of the Gods is a huge park full of hiking trails, rock climbing, and breathtaking views.

There is a location you can let your dog off leash, but otherwise all dogs must be kept on a six foot leash. If you’re worried about untrained dogs mobbing your service dog as you try to enjoy a hike, this is one of the best hiking locations you can try. See for yourself at 1805 N. 30th St.

Top Tier Veterinary Care

If you have a service dog to help you in your daily life, keeping him in the best possible condition is also essential to your quality of life. Even if you’re just planning to stay for a few days, knowing where a great veterinary hospital is should something happen to your service dog during your stay is of the utmost importance.

Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs

Animal Hospital of Colorado Springs is accredited with the American Animal Hospital Association, and the vets that work there have a number of important certificates that go above and beyond basic veterinary training. If you need veterinary treatment for your service dog, they can help you whether it is a complex case or a simple vaccine. You can take your dog to 1015 Cheyenne Meadows Road if you need care.

Get resupplied at Bon Pet Supply

If you need toys, treats, or food for your service dog, you probably want the best quality to keep him healthy and happy. Bon Pet Supply carries a wide range of products, including many different brands of high-quality dog food, and everything else your service dog might need or want. Pets of all types are welcome in the store. They are also open 7 days a week, so you won’t have to worry about running out of food on a Sunday and having to wait. You can visit them at 2312 N Wahsatch Ave.

Colorado Springs has a wealth of dog friendly opportunities. If you’re planning to visit there or even move and want to see what fun things you can do with your beloved canine, these are our top picks.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Service Dogs

Service dogs can represent the path to increased mobility and enhanced quality of life for those who live with a disability. Service dogs are animals who are specially trained to perform tasks that make everyday life easier for those who deal with disabilities. While they can be of great benefit to those who require them, owning a service dog is not as simple as picking out a pet. Service dog ownership and the rights of those who own them are part of a complex environment, which can be confusing to first-time service dog owners.

If you’ve recently elected to acquire a service dog to help you live with your disability, you may have many questions about how you should proceed. For example, you may wonder if it’s necessary to enroll your pet with a service dog registry. Likewise, you may want to know whether service dog vests are required to protect your rights and gain you and your dog equal access to public accommodations. While in some others, service dog registration may be beneficial in helping to navigate the legal environment surrounding service animals, in other locations that may not be the case. Therefore, it’s important that you absorb some basic information about service dogs, your rights as a service dog owner, and how you can navigate the regulations surrounding them. Keep reading to learn about service dog ownership.

Service Dogs Aren’t Emotional Support or Therapy Animals

While the labels are sometimes erroneously used interchangeably, service dogs are distinct from emotional support animals and pet therapy animals. Service dogs are individually trained to perform tasks for individuals that pertain to their specific disabilities. They and their owners are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which means that the dog and owner are afforded accessibility in housing, pet-free establishments, mass transit, educational institutions, and the workplace. ESA dogs and therapy dogs are not specially trained to perform specific tasks related to their owners’ disabilities. They are not protected to the same extent by the ADA, and accessibility is more limited as a result.

Registration Isn’t Required, but It’s Beneficial

The ADA doesn’t require that a service animal be registered by any registering body. The rights afforded to service dogs and their owners are not contingent upon registration so long as the owner meets the definition of a person living with a disability. The ADA also requires that the dog is specially trained to perform a specific task that mitigates the disability, is fully housebroken, and is under full control of the owner at all times. However, registration and accompanying documentation can help service dog owners navigate the world with greater ease. The presence of registration documentation, service animal cards, and service animal vests can help communicate your service animal’s purpose and reduce resistance to accommodation.

Public Accommodation Rights Are Protected

The ADA specifies that there are several areas in which the rights of owners of service dogs must be respected. Those include housing, public accommodations, air travel, work, and education. Under the ADA, an employee of an organization or institution can only ask two questions of service dog owners. As a service dog owner, you can be asked whether your dog is required because of a disability and what work task the dog is trained to perform. If you can answer those two questions in the affirmative, admittance must be allowed.

If you are entering the complex world of service dogs, you may be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information that is available. However, by learning the basics, you can more easily navigate life with a service dog and reap the full benefits that they offer.

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What Disabilities Qualify You for a Service Dog?

For those who live with disabilities, a service animal can be more than just a companion. A service animal is a specially trained assistant that can help a person accomplish a specific task that would otherwise be difficult or impossible because of their disability. While the tasks for which service animals are trained vary widely from person to person based on condition, the rights of those who rely on service animals are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Acts. A service dog registry can provide additional credentials for those who use service animals to accomplish daily tasks, but the rights of service dog users are protected nonetheless by the law of the land.

Whether you have your animal listed on the service dog registry or not, there are some clear-cut qualifications that a person with disabilities must meet for their animals to be considered true service animals, thus qualifying them for access and protection of their rights. Read on to learn more about which types of disabilities may qualify you for a service animal.

Physical Disability Definition

A disability is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as any physiological condition or disfigurement of a cosmetic or physiological nature that includes neurological, musculoskeletal, sensory, respiratory, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic, lymphatic, skin, or endocrine systems and organs.

Physical Disabilities and Service Dogs

There are many specific conditions that lead to disabilities that could qualify people for service dog usage. Those physical conditions include, but aren’t limited to, blindness or deafness, epilepsy, paralysis from any cause, allergies, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, osteoporosis, scoliosis, asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, loss of limb, and seizures.

Mental Disability Definition

The Americans with Disabilities Act defines mental disability as any mental or psychological disorder that causes mental distress such as traumatic brain injury, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and some learning disabilities.

Mental Disabilities and Service Dogs

While mental disabilities may not be as easy to observe by members of the public, those who suffer from those conditions can sometimes be aided by highly trained service dogs. Those mental disabilities that qualify for service dog assistance include, but aren’t limited to, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, depression, mood disorders, neurocognitive disorders, psychotic disorders, autism, and addiction disorders.

How Service Dogs Help

Service dogs can be trained to perform many tasks that are tailored to assist with the disabilities of their handlers. For example, service dogs can help those with physical disabilities such as sensory conditions by leading their handlers around in crowded places and alerting them to dangers. Some dogs assist their handlers with mobility by providing stability during walking or pulling wheelchairs. Other service animals are trained to provide medication reminders or sense when there’s a dangerous situation on the horizon, such as diabetic experiences plummeting blood sugar. Some dogs are even trained to dial 911 in an emergency or hail other family members to request help for a fallen owner. For those with mental disabilities, service dogs can help handlers recognize the oncoming signs of depression, for example, and distract them from triggering events. Other service dogs are trained to place their weight on their handlers as a form of deep pressure therapy that can stop an anxiety attack in its tracks. For those who suffer from PTSD, specially trained service dogs can insulate them in large crowds and help maintain space that would otherwise lead PTSD survivors to feel emotionally suffocated.

For those who live with disabilities, whether mental or physical, service dogs can provide needed assistance that can help restore function and feelings of normalcy. People who live with the conditions mentioned above can benefit from the assistance of a service dog. To learn more about what disabilities may qualify you for a service dog, contact the National Service Animal Registry at (866) 737-3930.

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What Is a Service Dog Exactly?

When you think of the term “service dog,” an image likely comes into your head of a dog in a red vest and harness. They’re likely a large breed of dog, and they may be assisting someone with an obvious disability, such as someone who is blind or in a wheelchair. While this image is not incorrect, it is a very limited view of what makes a service dog a service dog. Keep reading to learn what a service dog really is and what it takes for a dog to qualify for this title.

The Legal Definition

Legally speaking, a service dog is a dog that has received specialized service dog training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. The dog is essential in helping the disabled individual to perform daily tasks without a human caregiver. Of course, the dog can also be a much-loved member of the family; however, first and foremost, they are there to get a job done and have received the necessary training to do so.

This means that, despite their importance to many people with mental and emotional disabilities, emotional support animals are not considered service dogs. This is because ESAs do not receive specialized training or perform set tasks that assist their owner; instead, they are a pet that provides a soothing presence to help people cope with symptoms related to anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other conditions.

Types of Service Dogs

It’s important to remember that not all disabilities are visible, and an individual may still have a condition that requires the assistance of a certified, registered service dog. Here are some of the more common types of service dogs that people use:

  • Guide dogs for the blind or visually impaired
  • Hearing dogs for the deaf or hearing impaired
  • Mobility assistance dogs for those in wheelchairs or with other mobility limitations
  • Seizure response dogs to help protect and assist individuals with seizure disorders
  • Diabetes assistance dogs to alert owners of low or high blood sugar levels

Additionally, certain dogs may be trained to assist those with mental health or psychiatric issues. However, as noted above, these dogs are given task-specific training to assist with these disorders, rather than simply providing comfort. These tasks may involve intervening if the owner displays violent behavior, alerting parents to an autistic child in a dangerous situation, retrieving medication during a panic attack, and so on.

Guide dog is helping a blind man in the city

Rights of a Service Dog

Service dogs that have been trained and recognized by the service dog registry have certain rights that other dogs don’t. They can enter stores, restaurants, and other public areas where pets are not typically allowed. They can live with their owners in pet-free housing without being required to pay a pet fee. They can travel on planes and other public transportation with their owners. Business owners and workers are not legally allowed to question the handler regarding their disability but can ask if the dog is a service animal, as well as what task the dog has been trained to do.

If you would like to learn more about service dogs, emotional support animals, and the rights that extend to each of these, click the link above or contact us today.

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Service Dog Vests: Compulsory or Not?

Most people get excited when they see a service dog wearing their vest. It’s fascinating to watch a service dog at work. Have you ever wondered if the owner put the vest on them because the law requires it? Read on and find out more about service dog vests and whether they’re compulsory.

Service Dog or Emotional Support?

With the increase in people who need dogs for assistance or emotional support, sometimes it’s difficult to identify whether a dog is truly a service animal. Many dog owners feel their dogs do aid, especially in the area of emotional support. That doesn’t necessarily mean they can be classified as a service animal. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as a dog trained to do work for a person with a disability. It’s important to know the difference between a service animal and one that provides emotional support. Both provide comfort and support to their owners. Only a service dog is considered a working animal. Service dogs receive a variety of legal protections. They’re allowed in just about any public place. Emotional support dogs, on the other hand, are not allowed the same protections or access.

Service Dog Attire

You’ve likely seen dogs wearing sweaters, dresses, and even vests. Dog owners love dressing their four-legged friends. There’s a distinct difference between a dog sweater and service dog vest. The vest a service dog wears normally has a patch designating the dog as a service animal. Many vests worn by service dogs have a message embroidered on the vest letting people know not to pet the animal. You can easily tell the difference between a cute sweater and working dog’s attire. The vest of a working dog isn’t usually frilly or cute. They look business like and not like they’re dressed in a costume.

To Wear or Not to Wear a Vest

While they may look official, those dogs you see wearing service vests can get away without wearing anything at all. That’s because the ADA doesn’t require service dogs to wear a vest. They’re also not required to have any identification proving they’re a service animal. Even though currently, wearing a vest isn’t compulsory, there are a few advantages of making sure your service animal does wear a vest in public. First, if you plan on entering a hotel or restaurant with your dog and they aren’t wearing a vest, you’ll likely be asked to leave. You’re less likely to be questioned if the dog has one on when you visit these types of places.

The Benefits of Service Vests for Dogs

If you’ve ever seen a service dog vest for sale, you’ve probably wondered if there are any benefits to your dog wearing one. Even though they’re not compulsory, other than the advantages we discussed above, there are two other benefits. When people see a service vest on a dog, they immediately become aware of the dog’s presence. In turn, they also notice you. When people are alerted to a person with a disability, they often make room on the sidewalk or street. This helps keep you safe. When someone sees a dog and its owner approaching and the dog isn’t on a leash or easily identified as a service animal, they often become worried. The vest acts as accreditation for dog and comforts strangers knowing the dog is trained and won’t be aggressive.

While there are no laws yet that make wearing a service vest compulsory, it’s still an excellent idea to have your dog wear one in public. Whether you have a service dog or emotional support dog, let National Service Animal Registry help you find the best harness or vest.

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Feeding Your Service Dog Less May Lead to a Longer Life

Most people love their pets, but for the disabled, a service dog isn’t just a beloved friend. They are an essential part of their lives, and vital to their independence. Service dogs are employed around the world to help guide the blind, alert deaf to important sounds such as doorbells or phones, and to alert to a wide range of medical conditions.

It can cost between $20,000-$60,000 to properly train a service dog and replacing them when they become too old to work or pass away is both heart wrenching and difficult. Both the handler and the dog must learn to work with a new person, and there’s no guarantee that the match will work.

Between the expense and the level of effort it takes to transfer to a new service dog, it makes sense to keep a beloved friend in service for as long as possible. The good news is, keeping your dog in good weight can not only extend his life, but make those years higher quality as well.

Weight gain is a growing problem for dogs

In the United States alone, 54% of dogs are overweight or obese. A 2014 study conducted by Banfield pet hospitals found that overweight dogs live shorter lives than those who are a healthy weight. The difference in lifespan came to about 2 ? years.

Overweight dogs are also prone to a number of chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and even ACL tears. These problems may shorten your pets lifespan, but critically for service dogs, could bring an end to their career.

If they ever have to undergo surgery, they are also more at risk because overweight dogs have to work harder to breathe and may take longer to wake up after anesthesia.

Feeding less is the best choice

Weight loss happens when a dog takes in fewer calories than it burns. While you can increase exercise in the hopes of helping your pet burn calories, the reality is your service dog probably already gets plenty of exercise every day as he performs the tasks required of him.

The saying goes, “You can’t outrun a bad diet,” and is meant as advice for runners who hope to lose weight through adopting running as an exercise routine. The same is true for dogs. Although exercise can help burn more calories, your service dog’s diet is where we truly need to look in order to help him lose weight. There are several methods you can use to help him lose weight, including:

Stop free feeding

Some people choose to keep unlimited amounts of food available for their dog. The theory being that a full dog won’t beg, and that they won’t overeat if they know there is always more food available. Dogs are opportunistic feeders however, and tend to eat more than they should, especially if it is readily available to snack on at a moment’s notice.

Instead, carefully read the instructions on your dog’s food, and follow the guidelines. These guidelines are different from brand to brand, and even between lines of the same brand.

Follow package instructions carefully

Different brands of dog food have different calorie amounts. A cup of food for one brand could have a vastly different calorie count than a cup from a different brand, even though it is the same volume. Read the package carefully, and double check that you are following instructions properly. Some people read the daily intake suggestion and think 1 cup per meal for example, and it is actually 1 cup per day.

If you want to feed multiple meals per day, split the daily value total into portions, rather than accidentally doubling or tripling the amount of dog food your pet receives with multiple meals of his daily value.

Get a body scale done on your dog

Most vets are happy to perform a body scale assessment on your dog, so that you know how far you need to go. They will give you a number between 1-5, with 1 being completely emaciated and 5 being morbidly obese. A body scale can let you know your dog’s condition and help guide you towards a healthy weight.

Include treats in overall feed amount

Many people forget that the treats and chews they offer their pet throughout the day also have calories. When feeding your service dogs his main meal, it’s important to subtract the amount of treats you have given from the total amount of kibble for the day.

Treats can add up to a surprising number of calories if you give them frequently, so if you love giving your service dog a few extras when it is off duty, this may be the culprit to his expanding waistline.

Feed less

If you have been carefully measuring your dog’s food, either by weighing it or by following the package instructions and your dog has not lost weight, it’s time to cut the amount of dog food. The measurements on the back of your dog food are simply guidelines, and they don’t always accurately reflect your dog’s needs.

Age, level of activity, and chronic diseases such as thyroid problems can slow down your dogs metabolism and make him need less than the recommended amount. If you see no change in his weight after reducing his food, it’s time to cut how much is getting in his bowl.

How much to cut your dog’s food

If you always measure your dog’s food and follow the guidelines on the back of the bag, you may be wondering where to go from there. Your dog food may suggest different measurements depending on energy requirements, but a good rule of thumb is to reduce the food you are giving your dog by 5% and then wait a few weeks to see how effective that is.

The delay between food reductions gives your service dog a chance to get used to the smaller amount of food, as well as time to lose weight. If he hasn’t lost enough weight after a few weeks, you can reduce the amount again. If you find yourself feeding less than 75% of the daily recommended amount, it may be time to switch to a lower calorie food instead.

Feeding your dog the correct amount of dog food can be tricky. The weight ranges on dog food labels can be huge and make it hard for you to guess what the appropriate amount is. Many labels also fail to meet standard calculations.

Your service dog will probably need to be on a diet for somewhere between 6-8 months in order to achieve a healthy body weight. Even just five pounds could take over a month as your dog gradually loses the weight.

Even if your dog has a lot of weight to lose, it’s important not to rush your dog’s weight loss. Rapid weight loss can have problems of its own, such as nutritional deficiencies, or even behavior problems such as digging through your trash.

It’s healthiest for your pet to lose the weight gradually, so that he has time to adjust to the reduced amount of food before making more adjustments. Your vet can be a very helpful guide here, letting you know if weight loss is too much or not enough.

Even if the weight loss is gradual, you will notice a difference in how your service dog is working as the weight comes off and he enjoys more energy and better health. Weight loss is a long term project, and is the same for people as it is for dogs. The best chance for your pet to not only lose the weight but also keep it off is a slow approach.

Why less food is so important

Most service dogs are larger dogs, such as labs and shepherds. On a medium to large sized dogs, a few extra pounds aren’t as noticeable compared to a couple of extra pounds on a tiny yorkie. Yet even just a few extra pounds on your service dog can not only decrease his lifespan, but also his quality of life. According to VCA dog hospitals, just 5 pounds of extra weight can be enough to put your dog at risk for chronic health conditions. The smaller your dog is, the more those extra pounds can stress the body.

Your service dog is a partner that gives you independence. Making sure he is healthy enough to continue to help you for as long as possible is a sensible step and is as easy as pouring a few less kibble into his bowl. He might not love a diet, but he will love the good health he can enjoy well into his twilight years as your partner in life.

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Top Things a Service Dog Can Help You With

When people think about service dogs, they tend only to imagine seeing eye dogs. This, however, is only one type of service dog. These pets can be trained to perform so many different kinds of tasks to help their owners. Dogs can do a lot to help people with chronic conditions, including identifying dangers and providing emotional support. Read on below to learn more about the different types of services that a service dog can offer.

Mobility Assistance

For those who have limited mobility, service dogs can help them with everyday tasks that would otherwise be challenging or impossible to complete. A service dog can be used to help with retrieving objects, balance support, opening and closing doors, and more. The dogs that aid with balance support may wear a special harness for their owner to hold on to. These pups can help in emergency situations too.

Emotional Support

One of the most common types of support dogs is emotional support dogs. As the name suggests, these service animals help to provide emotional support for those who need it the most, people who are suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, phobias, and more. These pets can help to make you feel more relaxed, safe, and comfortable in situations where you otherwise may not. If you have an emotional support dog, you may want to look into getting a service dog certification.

Medical Assistance

Some service dogs can also be trained to provide specific assistance for a medical need. They can detect a change in blood sugar, hormone levels, or some other measurable symptom that could have a dangerous effect. Some of these dogs are even taught to dial 911 in an emergency.

Wheelchair Assistance

In addition to helping those with limited mobility, there are some dogs whose only role involves helping those in wheelchairs. Your service dog may be able to help you pick up dropped items, open doors, fetch things, and complete any other task that you regularly perform in your daily life.

Seizure Alert

If you have epilepsy, you may benefit from the help of a seizure alert dog. Pups can be trained to respond to seizures in a few different ways. They can alert someone close by that you need help, or they push an alarm device that will call for help. These dogs can also lie on the floor next to their owner to prevent injury or break their fall at the beginning of a seizure. There are even some dogs who can alert their owner to an oncoming seizure even before it begins, though this sort of training is very difficult.

Allergy Alert

For those with severe allergies, a service dog can detect the life-threatening allergen by smell. They can alert you when they discover a food that could trigger your anaphylaxis. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell and can detect even the smallest traces of a substance. Some pups can even detect diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, by smell.

Hearing Support

Service dogs can also provide support to those who are hearing impaired. They can alert their owners to important sounds in their environment, such as alarms, sirens, horns, doorbells, and the sound of their own name. Once they hear the noise, a hearing support dog will make physical contact with their owner and guide them to the source of the sound.

To learn even more about service dogs and how you can register your emotional support animal, contact us at National Service Animal Registry.

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Uber’s Ridesharing Service Dog Policy

Going on a trip with your Service Dog?

There are times when we need to travel with our Service Dog for business or pleasure, or even just a short trip to the vet.

Companies such as Uber have changed the way we think about taxis. Whereas they used to be considered an expensive way to travel, they are now much more affordable, commonplace and easy to arrange.

It’s reassuring to know we have the option of using Uber when we need to be somewhere quickly and safely with our Service animal.

This aim of this article is to give you all the information you need to book a ride with Uber for you and your Service Dog. We’ll cover your rights and responsibilities and what to do if something goes wrong.

Do all Uber cars take Service Dogs?

Yes, the right for anyone with a Service animal to ride in a car booked through the Uber App is protected by both state and federal law. In addition, Uber as a company is very supportive of people with Service Dogs. They consider that the company has a role to play helping people with Service Dogs travel easily, and they take this role very seriously.

Uber drivers are not allowed to refuse to drive you and your Service animal even if they are allergic to animals, or have a religious or cultural objection. They are not allowed to refuse your trip even if they have a phobia about dogs.

All drivers working with Uber have been made aware of the Service Dog policy. In other words, they know they are legally obliged to take customers with a Service Dog and they have agreed to do this.

Uber has established systems in place so all new and existing drivers receive an in-app notification that they have to acknowledge in order to demonstrate that they accept their obligations to transport Service animals and their owners. In addition, all drivers receive a quarterly email reminding them of these legal and contractual obligations and general information about transporting Service Dogs.

If a driver refuses to take anyone because they have a Service Dog with them, they would be breaking their agreement with Uber, it would be considered discrimination and their contract with Uber would be terminated.

Will I be charged a fee for riding with my Service animal?

No. An Uber driver cannot charge you a fee for traveling with your Service Dog.

Furthermore, if your trip is canceled or you incur any other fees from Uber because you had a Service Dog with you, you will be refunded.

You cannot be charged a cleaning fee for your Service animal because of shedding. You may be charged a cleaning fee if the dog urinates, defecates or vomits in an Uber car, but only on the third occasion. If you receive a cleaning fee by email for this reason and don’t agree with it, or it’s only the first or second occasion that it’s happened, you can contest it by responding to the email.

What happens if a driver refuses to take a customer with a Service Dog?

If any driver is suspected of refusing to allow someone with a Service animal to ride in their car, or discriminates against them in another way, they would not be allowed to drive for Uber anymore.

If a complaint is made about a driver concerning discrimination but there isn’t enough evidence against them, the complaint will be kept on record. If repeated complaints are made against a driver, they would be permanently prevented from driving for Uber.

Do I need proof that my dog is a Service Animal?

No, you are not required to carry any written documentation that your dog is a trained service animal. The driver is not allowed to ask for any proof. Uber drivers are only allowed by law to ask you two questions about your dog:

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

In addition, your dog is not required to wear an identification tag or anything else to indicate that he is registered as a Service animal. If you say your dog is a Service Dog, the driver should take your word.

Should I inform the driver in advance that I am bringing my Service Dog?

Although you are not legally obligated to inform the driver in advance that you are bringing your Service dog on a trip, you might feel more comfortable doing so as a courtesy and the driver might appreciate it too so he is better prepared.

Many drivers carry a towel or a blanket for dogs to use, but again you might feel more comfortable bringing one your Service animal is familiar with and you know is clean.

What should I do if I have a complaint about Uber concerning my Service Dog?

If a driver refuses to take you because you have a Service animal with you, cancels your ride for this reason, charges you improper cleaning fees or harasses you in any way, you are invited to submit a complaint against him to Uber.

Uber has a specialist support team who are responsible for investigating, documenting and resolving all complaints made about violations of their Service animal Policy.

Following their investigation, the support team will get back to you within a week to let you know the outcome and the action taken. They would, for example, tell you if the driver’s contract has been terminated as a result of your complaint or if there wasn’t enough evidence on this occasion but a record has been kept and could be used to support any future cases of discrimination.

If the support team find that the driver has violated his Uber Technology Support Agreement or Uber’s Service Dog Policy, his contract with Uber will be terminated. If an Uber driver’s contract is terminated as a result of a complaint made by you, you will be informed and receive a $25 account credit from the company.

You can file a complaint either through the Uber App, or the website.

To file a complaint using the Uber App, use the I Want To Report A Service Animal Issue screen that can be assessed from either the Trip Details screen or the Account Menu button.

To file a complaint using the Uber website, click on I Want To Report A Service Animal Issue or go through the Help link.

Further information about Uber’s Service Dog Policy including full details of how to make a complaint is available from this website.

Can I bring a non-Service Dog in an Uber car?

Whereas Drivers are legally obliged to allow Service Dogs to travel in their cars with their owners, they are allowed to use their discretion about non-Service Dogs.

If you plan to take a non-Service Animal on a trip in an Uber car, the company suggest you message the driver through the Uber App once your ride request has been accepted to let him know.

It is good practice to minimize mess by bringing a blanket or a crate for your pet to sit on during the journey. It helps to for your service dog to wear a service vest. It minimizes problems. Get one here.

3 Top tips for traveling in cars with dogs

Your Service Dog will have had training on traveling by car, but it might have been a while ago and you might feel nervous about taking him in a taxi rather than a car he is familiar with.

Here is some general advice about traveling in a car with your Service Dog.

1. Take him for a walk first

Before you travel make sure your Service Dog is properly exercised as he is likely to be confined for a while which can be uncomfortable for him.

Taking him for a good walk before you get into the car will allow him to use some energy and relieve himself.

2. Don’t feed him just before your trip

Don’t give your Service Dog a big meal before you get in the car as the motion might make him sick. Either give him a small meal, take his food with him or wait until he gets home.

If your dog has a history of getting car sick and you need to take him on a long journey ask your vet for advice. He might give him medication or have other suggestions that could help.

3. Be prepared

All dogs have accidents sometimes, so make sure you’re prepared with wipes and a plastic bag.

The driver will appreciate it if you bring a towel or rug for your dog to sit on to avoid mess from shedding or accidents. It’s always a good idea to bring water and a small bowl so your Service Dog can have a drink.

4. Put your dog in the footwell or use a harness

Your Service Dog has probably been trained to sit in the footwell of the car and this is the safest place for him. If you need him to be in your lap or on the seat make sure the window is closed because he might be tempted to stick his head out in the breeze which is very dangerous. If you frequently take your Service Dog in a car it would be worth investing in a special harness that clips to the seat belt.

5. Take short trips frequently

It’s a good idea to take your Service Dog on short trips frequently so he gets used to the procedure and experience of taking a taxi. It would be reassuring for you to know that in an emergency you can order an Uber and both you and your Service Dog are comfortable and familiar with the process.

If you are planning a long trip with your Service Dog build up to it with a few shorter trips.

6. Never leave your animal in a parked car

If you’re taking your dog out in any car, remember never to leave them inside the car when it is parked. Cars get dangerously hot very quickly and your dog could get severely dehydrated.

7. Make sure your dog wears an identity tag

It is very important that your Service Dog can be identified just in case the worst happens and he loses you. Make sure he has an identification tag and is microchipped. This is especially important if you are taking a trip and he will be in an unfamiliar environment.

Final Words

To summarize, you are allowed by law to take your Service Dog with you in an Uber car, and the driver cannot refuse on any grounds, even if he has an allergy, religious or cultural objections or a phobia of dogs.

You will not be charged an additional fee for traveling with your Service Dog, or even a cleaning fee if he sheds. If he makes a mess that involves bodily fluids, you may be charged only on the third occasion it happens.

If you believe you have been discriminated against because you have a Service Dog, either by being refused a ride, charged improper fees or harassed in any way, you are invited to make a complaint either through the Help section of the Uber App, or by clicking on I Want To Report A Service Animal Issue. If you simply want to contest a charge, you can do so by replying to the email you receive.

There are times when we need to travel with our Service Dogs, for work, pleasure, or even to take them to the vet. It’s reassuring to know that we have the option of using Uber and that this right is not only protected by law but also fully supported by the Uber company.

We hope this article has clarified your rights and responsibilities and given you the confidence to know how to use Uber with your Service Dog.

Happy traveling!

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How Service Dogs Help People with PTSD

According to the American Disabilities Act, or ADA, service animals are those that have been trained to perform certain tasks for a disabled person. These tasks may include physical activity or emotional support. Service dogs are commonly used to help those that are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD. These service dogs have been specifically trained to assist someone that has experienced some form of significant trauma. Here are some of the ways that an ESA dog registration can help someone suffering from PTSD.

Provide Security

There are a variety of incidents that could cause someone to suffer from PTSD. If a patient has been a victim of an assault, this could cause them to fear leaving their home. A service dog can serve as both a companion and as security for that person. The existence of a dog may make them feel protected, should they fear that someone might enter their home or approach them. As a victim of assault, they may also fear leaving their home by themselves. A service dog can serve as a companion so that they will never be alone, potentially causing them less stress or fear that something might happen.

Self-Sufficiency

Those suffering from PTSD may find it more difficult to live independently and completing certain tasks, such as taking medication or sleeping through the night. Those that use a service dog tend to take their medication more regularly. Additionally, they sleep better through the night with the assistance of a companion so they function better the next day. The assistance of a service animal with these daily tasks will allow those suffering from PTSD to function better independently.

Greater Coping Skills

The assistance of a service dog can help someone suffering from PTSD cope better with their situation and receive help from others. Dogs that have been trained to help with PTSD have certain behavioral traits that will be observed by the person. The presence of the dog will also force the person suffering from the condition to focus on the animal, as they will be playful and loving. This focus on something other than what has caused their condition will help them become less anxious and more self-sufficient.

Modulate Stress Level and Tone of Voice

PTSD can cause increased stress levels and a change in the tone of voice, potentially making communicating with others a difficult process. When working with a service dog in the comfort of their own home, they will need to reduce stress and use a certain tone of voice in order for the dog to react to their commands. This will allow them to practice adjusting these attributes so that they will know how to control them when associating with other people.

A Loving Companion

A major impact of PTSD is that the person suffering from the condition may be unhappy due to the feeling of isolation, stress, and uneasiness around others. In addition to providing a feeling of security and confidence, a service dog is a loving companion. This will allow the person suffering from PTSD to feel less isolated and happier in their daily life.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can be caused by a variety of factors and be very difficult to overcome. The assistance of a service animal with psychiatric service dog registration will allow that person to be more independent and happier in their daily life. Contact the National Service Animal Registry if you’re looking for a service animal to help with PTSD.