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Vegetables Your Service Dog Can and Can’t Eat?

When you have a best friend who is also a furry, four legged service dog with a happy grin and a wagging tail, it is only natural to want to share a plate. It’s fun to share food—it’s a major part of human culture and one of the ways in which we connect with one another. But…dogs are canines, not homo sapiens (hard to remember, I know) and thus, have not only different nutritional requirements, but also different digestive abilities.

To reassure you, before we go any further, it is absolutely Ok to share food with your service dog, just not everything, and certainly not in the same quantities.

While your service dog is an omnivore, meaning they can eat a range of meat and plant based foods, our sweet domestic version of the species is not always quite so strictly in touch with their instincts that they will know to avoid potentially toxic foods. In fact, dogs are notorious for eating just about anything put in front of them, including things like chocolate, which are quite toxic, as well as over eating until they make themselves sick. To be fair, it is a dog’s instinct to overeat, seeing as how in the wild their ancestors (and current relatives, such as the wolf) would gorge themselves on the kill, uncertain when the next meal would arrive.

Since your service dog will not necessarily be a good judge of what is appropriate and safe to eat, it is up to you, as a devoted companion to your furry friend, to take on the responsibility of being informed about the various foods we eat and whether they are safe for sharing with our pups.

This article will focus on vegetables in particular. Are vegetables good for your service dog? Are vegetables harmful to your service dog? When is it appropriate to feed your service dog veggies, and how should you prepare them? And how much? Keep reading, as we delve into these questions.

Doggie Digestive Systems: Carnivore or Omnivore?

Are dogs carnivores (strictly meat eaters) or omnivores (capable of eating meat and vegetables, like humans, and raccoons)? This is actually a bigger debate than you might guess. While dogs seem to be made physiologically to be carnivores, they are classified as omnivores because they can (and do) eat plant materials, including fruits and vegetables. In fact, eating strictly meat will make your service dog sick over the long run, as he will be missing essential nutrients.

Still, dog bodies are optimized for meat, with the pointy teeth of a true carnivore and a digestive system emphasizing strong stomach acid (to kill bacteria of decaying meat), a lack of amylase in the saliva (necessary for the breakdown of starch), an extra large stomach (in order to contain all the meat from those gorging fests) and an overall shorter digestive tract than herbivores or even full on omnivores (like humans) who need a longer tract to breakdown and absorb plant material.

On the other hand, your service dog is an incredibly adaptive animal and are capable of processing a wide range of foods for its nutritional content. Indeed, since hounds joined the human race as one of our specie’s favorite allies some 15,000 years ago, they have certainly proved themselves capable of surviving off a wide range of foods, indicating a more omnivorous habit. Unlike cats, for instance, who really cannot process most vegetables and will not survive without a high meat diet, dogs have proved that they can (and will) eat and digest vegetables. Dogs do not, however, need vegetables to survive. That is, they do not need vegetables in the way we do—but they do need plant material.

The diet of your service dog’s ancestors included eating the stomach contents of their prey: herbivores, who were chock full of plant material—mainly grasses. Canines are also scavengers, meaning they can both eat and receive good nutrients from eating rotting vegetables, carcasses and even (though a little disgustingly) poop.

A good idea, in light of this information, would be to focus the bulk of the diet on animal protein, but incorporate vegetables and other foods as more supplemental bits. The best vegetables will be leafy greens, since they are most similar to the grasses a dog would eat in the wild. However, other vegetables, offered in moderation, can be good too. We’ll discuss more specifics below.

What Nutritional Value Do Vegetables Have (For a Dog)?

Vegetables provide a wide range of minerals and vitamins. They also provide wonderful fiber, which can improve digestion (or, conversely, hamper digestion, causing diarrhea if overdone).

Every vegetable will of course have a different make up of vitamins and minerals. Some of the essential vitamins and minerals required by the canine and which can be found in varying degrees in a given vegetable include: B Vitamins, Calcium, Chlorine, Choline, Copper, Folic acid, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Phosphorus, Potassium, Riboflavin, Selenium, Sodium, Vitamin D, Vitamin K and Zinc.

How to Introduce and Prepare Vegetables for Your Service Dog

So, now that we know your service dog can eat vegetables, how do we actually feed these healthy veggies to our puppy dogs? Can you just put a pile of well-seasoned and prepared veg on a plate for your service dog’s dinner? Or toss him a raw salad?

The answer is no. It’s not quite that simple. Your service dog can eat vegetables, but there are ways to make it easier for him/her to digest and assimilate the nutrients.

Dogs take a while to adjust to any new food. In fact, when introducing a new food, it is not uncommon for a dog to get diarrhea, not necessarily because the food is inherently bad for him, but because his body does not recognize it. It takes time for the body to learn what a food is, and how to break it down and use it to build cells.

This is why it is a good idea to begin small: Try giving your service dog just a bite or two of that zucchini, and increase over time, watching to see his reaction. Give his body time to adjust to this foreign experience, because one thing for certain, if your service dog likes the zucchini, she will not be moderating herself.

Another reason starting slow is a good idea, is that it will allow you to watch your service dog for an actual allergy. Dogs, like humans, sometimes just have a bad reaction to a specific food. While a little diarrhea is normal when introducing a new food, if it sustained and/or in combination with other symptoms such as lethargy or puking, call your veterinarian (and it goes without saying, STOP giving the problem food to the poor pooch!).

Another way to both ease the transition for your service dog into eating vegetables, and to assure the highest rate of digestion and absorption of the veggie, is in a mindful preparation. While dogs can handle some raw vegetables, their digestive systems are not as efficient at processing raw foods as humans (due to the shorter, carnivorous digestive tract).

There are lots of ways you can prepare the food for optimal digestion insuring your service dog gets all the nutrients it can out of the veggies. You can boil, steam, bake, grill or roast the fine veggies for your grateful service dog. Or, you could even leave it raw, but puree it, so the smaller bits will be easier to assimilate into the canine body.

Yet another good reason to cut the veggies into small pieces or cook them ahead of time, is because your service dog’s jaws and teeth are not ideally suited for chewing: their jaw only moves up and down, unlike a human (or herbivore) jaw, which moves side to side while chewing. They also have less molars. This means that dogs tend to swallow quickly—which can potentially lead to choking, especially with hard vegetables.

As for seasoning, salt is unnecessary. In fact, it can even be dangerous, leading to sodium ion poisoning. This is also why it’s a good idea to avoid pickled veggies as well, since they tend to be very high in sodium. Your service dog gets all the salt he/she needs from natural sources and are sensitive to excessive intake of this mineral.

If you really want to exercise your culinary genius for your beloved service dog, it is ok (and even beneficial) to add some more neutral herbs, such as rosemary or parsley. Think culinary herbs here, and as always, be sure to check that they are safe before tossing them into the dish.

And if you find you really enjoy preparing your service dog’s veggie snacks, you can even take it a step further by making your own dog food with a combination of proteins, vegetables and grains!

Vegetables to AVOID!

The list of vegetables to avoid is actually not so extensive. The main thing with veggies is that dogs don’t need that many of them—and they will get sick if fed a particular veggie in too great of portions or too often. If you regulate how much veggies your hound is getting, she should be just fine. The truly toxic veggies are few, and even they would need to be eaten in a large quantity to really cause damage.

Onion

This root vegetable of the alium family is dangerous to dogs in large quantities because of a constituent found in it called thiosulphate. Terrifyingly, because dogs lack the enzyme necessary to digest this chemical, it becomes toxic in their bodies and can cause the rupture of red blood cells, known as hemolytic anemia.

Don’t panic if your service dog gets a hold of a slice of pizza with onions on it. While you definitely do not want to intentionally be feeding him onions, a few here and there will not cause great damage. However, a cumulative effect—that is, eating a little bit of onion on a regular basis over a long time—can have quite serious consequences.

Some breeds are more sensitive than others, but it’s a good idea to avoid onions altogether just to be safe. And that includes powdered onions! Many seasoning include powdered onion, so keep this in mind when feeding Fido table scraps.

Other members of the Alium family such as chives, leeks and garlic also contain this ingredient, so best to avoid them in big quantities as well.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb contains oxalates, which are salts which can bind with the bodies calcium, causing a calcium deficiency. The stem is actually Ok to eat, as it contains such a small amount of oxalates. The leaves, however, contain toxic levels of oxalates if enough is consumed. Symptoms can include drooling, diarrhea, tremors and lethargy.

Avocado

Technically a fruit, Avocados contain persin, which is actually considered only mildly toxic to dogs, if at all. It has gotten a bad rap due to the poisoning effects it has on other animals, such as birds and cattle (so if you have a canary or a cow, do not feed it avocado…but your service dog will probably be fine, if you follow the outline above and introduce it slowly, observing the response).

Vegetables for You and Your Service dog to EMBRACE!

Luckily, as evidenced by the very few harmful veggies for dogs, most vegetables are fair game for you hound, when given in moderation and prepared in the correct way. And that is great news, because vegetables are often a healthier alternative to commercial treats which contain additives and chemicals.

Here’s a list of some of the popular vegetables to feed dogs (though far from exhaustive), and why they are good, along with any stipulations in the preparation.

Broccoli

Broccoli is great, but only in small quantities—it contains isothiocyanates, which can cause stomach upset, so feed in moderation.

Carrots

Especially noted for their high beta carotene and Vitamin A content (essential for healthy bones and immune system, among other things), carrots are also excellent for cleaning tartar off dog teeth!

Celery

Celery is high in fiber, Vitamins A, B and C as well as plethora of minerals. It is great for your dogs heart and also contains Apigenin, which is a cancer fighting compound. While high in salt (meaning, like the rest of the veggies, only serve in moderation!), celery is known to freshens a dog’s breath.

Corn

Corn, in the form of corn starch, is actually one of the primary ingredients in mainstream dog food. Corn is a source of proteins, carbohydrates, antioxidants and linoleic acis. Corn is great, just be sure not to give it to your service dog on the cob! This is unfortunate, since it seems like corn on the cob would make such a great chew toy! However, the inedible cob can actually rip up your service dog’s digestive system, causing major damage. On the flipside, popcorn is ok! (so long as it’s plain without butter and salt).

Cucumber

Cucumbers are so full of water and minerals that they are quite hydrating, among other things. While the skin is the most healthy part, it is unfortunately also the most challenging to digest. Peel it before feeding your service dog to avoid stomach upset.

Greenbeans

A great, snappy treat, greenbeans contain vitamin C, K and manganese.

Potatoes

High in iron, potatoes are great for dogs, so long as they are cooked (either boiled or baked, without seasoning).

Sweet Potatoes

Full of beta carotene, potassium, vitamin B6 and C, sweet potatoes are also great for your service dog’s fur coat and skin.

There are literally dozens of other vegetables out there: root veggies such as beets, squashes, pumpkins, cauliflower, zucchini and various greens, such as kale. The main thing to keep in mind when considering a new vegetable for your service dog, is to introduce it slowly. And it is always a good idea to look up each new vegetable, just to be sure it’s safe and to check on the specifics.

Conclusion:

There are lots of good reasons to incorporate vegetables into your service dog’s diet. Feeding your service dog vegetables can be a great low carb alternative to doggie treats, offering her baby carrots or slices of cucumber. It can also be fun to share your food with your pup. If you’re cooking dinner, for instance, and chopping veggies—perhaps you want to share the experience with Rex by tossing him a bit of zucchini. Veggies can also offer dogs important vitamins and minerals. Just remember that your service dog’s diet should really be based around protein. Celebrate vegetables and experiment with the safe food options for your pet, just remember to keep your hound’s diet balanced.

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How Much Does a Service Dog Cost: A Buyer’s Guide for Your Service Dog

For many people with disabilities, service dogs are absolutely essential. These animals make everyday life more manageable and enjoyable. However, because of their high costs, getting a service dog can be a daunting and stressful task. With adoption costs, training, vet trips, and more, obtaining and caring for a service animal can cost thousands every year. Read this guide to learn about all the expenses associated with owning a service dog and how you can pay for yours.

Already-Trained Service Dog Costs

Though the specific amount will depend on the breed of dog and the type of training it gets, you can expect to buy a service dog for between $15,000 and $30,000 upfront. Some service dogs can cost as much as $50,000. Along with these initial costs, many pet owners spend between $500 and $10,000 every year caring for their dog. These yearly expenses cover things like food, veterinary checkups, vaccinations, toys, and additional training.

Why Are the Initial Costs so High?

Service dogs require much more training than other dogs do. This extensive training and additional care usually take place during the first few months of their lives. The amount you pay goes toward adoption costs, puppy vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and trainer’s fees. You can cut down on the initial costs significantly by training the dog on your own or with assistance from a certified dog trainer. Though it costs less in the short-term, this method usually takes longer and may actually end up costing more in the long-term.

Costs to Train Your Dog to Be a Service Animal

If you already have a dog that you want to train to become a service animal, you may be able to save some money on the initial costs. The amount this route will cost depends on your dog, how much it already knows, the specific tasks it must learn, the trainer’s fees, and how much time the trainer can dedicate to your dog. If your dog has already received some obedience training, it can take between four and six months to train them for a task service. The precise amount of time it will take depends on the task your pup must learn and the pup’s aptitude. Additionally, service dogs are expected to be able to perform these tasks in a number of different environments. A lot of dogs can take up to two years to become fully trained for public access. The hourly fees professional dog trainers charge varies greatly from region to region, though you can expect to pay around $150-250 per hour. These expenses can also add up very quickly.

How to Pay for a Service Animal

There are a few different ways you can raise the money to pay for your service animal. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • Use a nonprofit grant. There are many organizations like Service Dogs for America and Assistance Dogs International that are dedicated to helping people with disabilities find service dogs for little or no fee.
  • Build up your savings. Though this is easier said than done, it is much easier to buy a service dog if you have a little extra savings in the bank.
  • Take out a loan. If you are unable to get help from a nonprofit, you can try to take out a personal loan to cover the costs of the service animal.

Contact us at the National Service Animal Registry for more important information about service dogs.

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Chicago, IL: A Great Place to Visit with Your Service Dog

Chicago, sometimes known as the “Windy City” is a busy metropolis full of skyscrapers, great food, and even better music. It’s the third most populous city in the United States, and has a wide selection of dog friendly locations you can bring your pet or emotional support animal.

If you own a service dog, you already know your dog is welcome anywhere, but there are several places around Chicago your service dog will enjoy for a little off duty fun, or that provide important care your animal needs to keep working for you. Here are our favorite spots in Chicago for your dog.

Places to eat

Taking your service dog to a restaurant is part of the job, but if you have an emotional support animal its usually barred from restaurants. Fortunately, there are dozens of dog friendly restaurants in Chicago. These are our favorites.

Harry Caray’s Tavern

Enjoy a spectacular view of the waterfront while sitting down with your service dog for a great meal. Harry Carays at 600 E Grand Ave, Navy Pier, Chicago, IL, US, 60611 has a dog friendly patio you can enjoy the meal on, while also bringing along an emotional support animal or other pet for the meal.

They have great food as well as a spectacular meal, including vegan options such as the Beyond Burger if you have dietary restrictions.

Big Stars

If you’re craving tacos, you’ll love Big Stars at 1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL, US, 60622. Big Stars features incredible Mexican food, and are most famous for their taco slinging skills. The Wicker park location is especially interesting because of its unique building…it was converted into a restaurant from a 1940’s gas station.

Which ever location you choose, dogs are welcome on their patio, and are well liked at Big Stars.

Take your dog to a four paws up hotel

Whether your dog is a service dog or an emotional support animal, he will love the Hotel EMC2, Autograph. This trendy hotel has no green space on the premises, but there is a dog park available just 3 blocks away!

The hotel itself allows dogs to be left unattended and unkenneled in the hotel room with a signed waiver, and does not charge an additional fee for large dogs. Beds, bowls and treats are available at the front desk for the use of your dog during his stay. See it for yourself at 228 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611.

Stay at a pet friendly apartment

Service dogs and emotional support animals can’t be kept out of apartment buildings, but there are perks to staying in a dog friendly apartment, such as an abundance of green space and the ability to keep a non-working pet.

The Morgan at Loyola station allows up to two pets, and takes dogs up to 50 pounds. They are conveniently located close to the downtown area, and has an abundance of outdoor space including lake access, as well as plenty of amenities for you as well. Enjoy a fitness center, bike storage, club house, and 24 hour maintenance should something break in your home. Check it out at 1209 W Arthur Ave, Chicago, IL 60626.

Keep your service dog healthy with a vet trip

You depend on your service dog for your independence, so making sure he stays fit and healthy is critical to both your well being and his. West Wrigley Animal Hospital at 3416 N. Ashland Ave. Chicago, IL 60657 is a reliable source for vet care. They offer veterinary treatments for all life stages, and have a state-of-the-art hospital with an in-house diagnostic lab for quick results.

If your service dog or emotional support animal should need veterinary care while in Chicago, this vet should be your first call.

Jackson Bark

Your service dog or emotional support animal is used to accompanying you, and chances are he’s seen a lot of dog parks. If you want to take him to one that’s unique for some off-duty fun, Jackson Bark is the place for you. This dog park features agility equipment to train on and get excess energy out on, and people who have visited report safety features and other amenities such as poop bags. Check it out at 5800 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL, US, 60637.

Take your service dog on his own canine cruise

One of the most popular venues for dog lovers in the Mercury Canine Cruises at Michigan Ave. & Wacker Dr. in Chicago, IL 60601. These cruises are designed especially for your furry friend, so you can rest assured your hard working service dog or beloved emotional support animal will have a good time on this trip.

You can listen to a history of the city as you admire its beauty from comfortable outdoor seating, and there are doggie amenities such as a paper-lined bathroom and dog bowls available for your dog. Your service dog will love this trip, and so will you!

Take your dog on a hike

There are lots of fun places to hike in and near Chicago, and your dog is welcome to join you on some of them. The Valley Line Trail is one such trail both you and your service dog will enjoy. It was made along the path of an old railway, and is currently maintained by the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Just 20 minutes from down town, you can access one of the trail heads at 4400 W. Devon Ave. Chicago, IL 60646.

Chicago is a large city filled with dog friendly places you can go with your dog. Where your four legged friend is a hard working animal, a retiree, or just a pet, there are plenty of things you can see and do around the Chicago area.

If you’ve been thinking about visiting, don’t be afraid to bring your dog along with you to the Windy City. You will love it, and he will too.

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Seattle, WA: A Great Place to Visit with Your Service Dog

Seattle is a thriving metropolis known for the Space Needle, fabulous whale watching opportunities, and how dog-friendly it is. If you are a dog lover yourself or need a service dog or emotional support dog to get around, you’ll love Seattle, Washington. Seattle was even named the most dog-friendly city in the world because of the many opportunities available in it.

Dog friendly lodging

If you’re planning on just a short visit, one of the best places to stay is the Belltown Inn. This dog-friendly inn is centrally located in the heart of Seattle, making it a convenient location for checking out all the sights and sounds.

It has received several awards for being environmentally friendly and for its excellent ratings with customers. Housekeeping will not visit if the dog is left unattended, so be prepared if you want housekeeping while you have your emotional support dog or service dog staying with you.

Staying a while?

If you’re planning to move to Seattle, Cyrene Apartments is a dog friendly apartment located within blocks of the waterfront. You’ll be able to visit the Seattle Aquarium and the Waterfront with just a quick stretch of the legs. Seattle Aquarium welcomes service dogs in all public areas and is wheelchair accessible. Some breed restrictions for Cyrene Apartments do apply for non-assistance animals, but there is no weight limit to the size of the dog. You can see it for yourself at 50 University St.

Take your ESA with you to dine out

If you want to grab your morning cup of coffee on the go, and take your emotional support dog with you, Bark! Espresso is one of the most dog-friendly cafes you can ask for. It has a completely separate area for dogs, and you can even treat your ESA to a doggie latte while you grab a real one for yourself. Bark! Espresso is located at 11335 Roosevelt Way NE.

If you’re hoping for a sit-down dinner you can bring your emotional support dog to, Norm’s Eatery and Ale House is the place to go. All dogs are welcome inside the building so long as they follow the rules. The dog must be on leash, cannot eat off the table or plates, and must not bark while inside. If he can follow these rules, he can come in while you dine! Enjoy a great meal at 460 N 36th St, Seattle, WA 98103.

There are many eateries that welcome pets in Seattle, so if you’re hoping to bring along your ESA, chances are there will be a place close to you that allows it.

Take your puppy to the beach

Not a lot of off-leash dog parks can boast beach access, but Warren G. Magnuson Park off-leash area can. In fact, it’s the only park in Seattle that does. This 8.6 acre park is part of a larger, 350 acre park in the Sand Point neighborhood of Seattle, and the off-leash park is alongside Lake Washington, giving your dog plenty of opportunities for fresh water fun.

There are also a multitude of trails to walk your service dog or ESA along, and many of these trails are wheelchair accessible. It’s a great opportunity for everyone, and easily the best dog park in Seattle. The park is located at 7400 Sand Point Way NE.

Visit an outdoor market

The Fremont Sunday Market is a beautiful outdoor market open year-round. The market is located at 3410 Evanston Ave North and is dog friendly. They ask that your dog be kept on a short leash for the safety of patrons as well as your service dog, ESA, or other pet. Click Here to check out National Service Animal Registry’s 4 foot leashes, perfect for this scenario.

You can find all sorts of things at the outdoor market, from handmade leather satchels to treats to give your service dog or emotional support dog as a reward for a job well done.

Bark at the Park

While your service dog is always welcome at baseball games, you may enjoy taking him to one specifically geared towards dogs. “Bark at the Park” is a baseball game where dog lovers can take their pets for a fun filled day of events, free goodie bags from vendors, and of course a baseball game.

Whether a licensed assistance animal or just a pet, he may have never been to a baseball game. This is your chance to let him experience the full fun of this event and watch a great game too.

Need a vet?

Whether your dog is a service dog, an emotional support dog, or your very best friend in life, good veterinary care is vital to their health. In the case of a service dog or an emotional support dog, your dog plays a vital role in your level of independence, and your emotional health as well, making it critical for both you and your pet that he remain healthy.

That means knowing the best local vets in case your dog gets sick or injured while you are in Seattle. If you’re looking for the very best care for your dog, consider Lien Animal Clinic. With over 300 5 star reviews, and prompt attention to those who do have a problem, you know you’ll be treated well when you take your furry companion to this clinic.

Rex Seattle

Service dogs work hard, and sometimes they deserve a little pampering too. Rex Seattle has everything you need to take care of your dog while you are in Seattle. Located at 1402 12th Avenue, you’ll find grooming, a self-dog wash, and select products as well as a caring staff.

Seattle is a great place for dog lovers. If you have a assistance dog and depend on your dog for your own wellbeing, you can rest assured that there are plenty of places you can keep your dog in tip top shape while you are enjoying this big city.

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High-Quality Service Dog Leashes for Your Furry Friend

Though they may have a similar function, not all dog leashes are created equally. Leashes are meant to keep your pup safe and under control while in public. However, if your leash is not suited for your dog’s breed and temperament, the leash won’t be able to do what it is meant to do. Having the right, high-quality leash is even more important when you have a service animal, since they will be spending a lot of time in public areas with other people and pets. To learn more about selecting the best leash for your emotional support animal, keep reading below!

Leash Styles

First, consider the style of leash you want to purchase. You will need to choose between standard leashes and retractable ones. Retractable leashes may seem like a good choice at first, but most pet owners quickly realize their downfalls. They offer limited control over your pet and can break easily if you do not purchase the right size. For most dogs, a standard leash is the best choice. This is especially true if you are shopping for a service dog leash. These are the leashes that likely come to mind first when you picture a dog leash. They’re made of a single piece of material and can range from four to ten feet long.

Materials

Dog leashes are available in a range of materials including nylon, polyester, rubber, cotton, leather, and chain. For most service animals, you will want to choose a leash that is made of polyester or nylon. These two materials are among the most popular, mainly because they are both durable and inexpensive. These leashes are built to withstand all sorts of weather and environments, too.

Since these fibers are human-made, they are available in a wide selection of colors and patterns. There are even some that say “ESA” right on them (more on that later), which helps to immediately identify your pet as a service animal. Nylon and polyester leashes can be purchased at most pet stores and online retailers, which means you can easily find one when you are ready to buy your new leash.

Length

Once you have chosen the material and style of the leash, you can settle on a length. Most leashes are either four or six feet long, while some measure up to ten feet long — though these are mainly used for training purposes. For your everyday leash, look for something that is either six or four feet in length.

Six-foot leashes are the most common. They offer your dog some space to roam and explore without leaving too much slack to drag on the ground or get wrapped around their feet. Shorter, four-foot leashes are ideal for busy city streets and other high-traffic areas. They prevent your service pup from wandering too far from you and lower the chances of getting tangled around poles and other dogs’ leashes.

Width

Leashes are also available in a few different widths. Thicker leashes are better for strong pullers, chewers, and larger dogs. These leashes offer more strength and are less likely to break when put under pressure. Thinner leashes, on the other hand, are good for small dogs and puppies since they are less restrictive and a lot lighter. If you have a puppy that you’re training to be a service pet, you may need to switch to a thicker one when they get older depending on their breed and personality.

Purchase a Service Animal Leash

You may also want to consider purchasing a dog leash that is explicitly made for service animals. These polyester leashes come in a range of lengths and are marked “ESA” along the length of the leash. This helps to let everyone know that you have a service animal so you can avoid confusion when you bring your pet into public places.

Be sure to visit us at the National Service Animal Registry to view our whole selection of emotional support animal leashes!

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Austin, TX: A Great Place to Visit with Your Service Dog

Texas is a huge state, and experiencing it is an experience you will remember for the rest of your life. Austin is the capital of Texas and has a surprising amount to offer dog lovers who visit there. If you depend on a service dog to help keep you mobile, or you have an emotional support animal you enjoy keeping with you to support your needs, Austin has many locations you can take your dog.

Here are just a few of our favorite locations for you and your dog.

Stay at a dog friendly hotel

There are a number of pet friendly hotels in Austin but finding one that has appropriate places to potty your dog can be tricky. Many locations are completely concreted in, which can result in an uncomfortable experience when it’s time to take your emotional support animal or loyal service dog to do his business.

Luckily, the Staybridge Suites Austin Arboretum at 10201 Stonelake Blvd, Austin, TX 78759-5734 not only has a designated potty spot for your dog, but also has treats for your pet, and a low dog fee. Your dog will feel right at home in this comfortable hotel, and so will you. It’s located just two blocks from fine dining and shopping areas, so you can walk to see more of Austin.

Staying a while?

If you’re planning to move to Austin, Texas, you may be wondering about the available of dog friendly apartments. There are quite a few apartments that accept dogs, including large dogs and multiple pets. If you have a service dog or an emotional support animal, you know that while you can stay anywhere with your dog, an apartment that expects pets has a lot of benefits—including more green space for your dog.

The Villas at Stone Oak Ranch is a pet friendly apartment that allows up to 2 dogs with a nominal dog rent. Some breed restrictions do apply.

This apartment not only has plenty of green space to walk your service dog on, but you can also cross the street to Yett Creek Neighborhood Park and explore the hiking trails there. See it for yourself at 13021 Legendary Drive Austin, TX 78727.

Need a vet?

When you own a service dog or an emotional support animal that takes care of you daily, it’s important to ensure they get the health care that they need. They can handle everything from basic wellness visits to intensive care and have their own in-house lab to help speed the process of getting lab results back.

See them for themselves yet at 5720 Menchaca Road, Austin TX 78745.

Take your dog for a splash at an off-leash dog park

Imagine how much fun your dog will have on surrounded by water on three sides as he splashes and plays in the water. Red Bud Aisle is a magical place for dogs and people alike, and is entirely off leash. Your service dog will love the water, and the broad paths are well kept for easy access.

Parking is at a premium, so you may want to come at off peak hours or use a smaller vehicle to help make it easier to enjoy this park.

Visit a farmer’s market

Outdoor markets are a great way to enjoy fresh produce and homemade goods from local farmers and craftsman. Unfortunately, unless you have a service dog, most farmers markets frown on dogs visiting these markets even when they are held outside. If your dog is technically not a service dog, but you still need him to be comfortable in specific situations, finding a dog friendly farmer’s market is a fabulous experience.

The Barton Creek Farmer’s market is a perfect location to bring your emotional support animal, and is open every Saturday from 9AM to 1PM. You can find them at 2901 S Capital of Texas Hwy Austin, Texas 78746.

Places to eat in Austin

Taking your service dog into a restaurant is a normal part of living, but if you have an emotional support animal, finding a place to eat that will allow your pet can get tricky. Luckily, Austin restaurants love dogs, and there are a number of places you can bring your furry friend, service dog or not.

Yard Bar

If you want to relax with your dog in an adult setting, Yard Bar is a great place to take your pet. This restaurant actually combines an off leash dog park and a bar, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. The Yard Bar does have some restrictions—no intact animals, even puppies, and no one under the age of 21 may visit.

As long as you meet this criteria, you’ll love the Yard bar, so check it out at 6700 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX, US, 78757.

Austin Terrier

If you have children in tow, the Austin Terrier can feed your whole family without restrictions. Service dogs are always welcome, and emotional support animals are welcome on the patio. They do a great job of taking care of your dog, including offering it water, during your stay.

Austin Terrier is located at 3435 Greystone Dr, Austin, TX, US, 78731 and offers salads, sandwiches, and specialty pizzas.

Go hiking with your dog

Austin Texas is a beautiful place to visit with your dog and has many dog friendly hiking trails your furry friend will love. If hiking is a passion for you and your service dog, give McKinney Falls State Park at 5808 McKinney Falls Parkway, Austin, TX, US, 78744 a try.

This hiking trail is a perfect place to take your leashed emotional support animal or service dog as you walk along Onion Creek and listen to the roar of the water. Geocaching and picnic areas are available, making it entertaining as well as good exercise.

If you have a service dog, Austin Texas is a great place to visit. There’s plenty you can see and do with your loyal companion, and many people who will welcome your dog regardless of whether he is wearing identification or not. You’ll love the visit, and you can rest assured your dog will love it too.

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What You Should Know about Leash Laws and Service Dogs

There are many laws and regulations (both state and federal) that apply to pets and their owners. These laws are designed to keep both animals and people safe and to ensure the general well-being of the public. But many of the laws that apply to a pet are waived or altered in some way to accommodate service animals. If you’ve been wondering how leash laws and other pet-related laws apply to your emotional support animal, here’s what you should know.

Defining a Service Dog

We know that your ESA dog is an important part of your treatment, and essential to coping with your condition. However, in most circumstances, an ESA does not qualify as a service animal. This means that any pet-related laws in your area do apply to your ESA, and there are very few situations under which your dog will be treated as a service animal.

A service dog is defined as a dog that is trained to perform a specific task in order to assist someone with a disability. Because most ESAs are not given task-specific training, and their handlers simply need their presence for comfort, they are not considered service animals. So, please be aware that the majority of public places (restaurants, stores, etc.) that do not allow pets have the discretion to allow an ESA. However, there are exceptions, so if you want to bring your ESA somewhere public with you, do some research, or call the location and ask if they’ll allow a support animal on the premises.

Leash Laws

It’s important to note that, while other regulations may be waived for service animals, leash laws are not altered for dogs that provide a service or support to their handler. Whatever a dog’s job may be, they are subject to the local dog licensing and registration requirements and must be on a leash unless they are in an area where leashes are not required.

In fact, laws strictly state that service animals must be under control at all times. This means they should be leashed, tethered, or otherwise harnessed in public areas. The only exception to this is if the leash directly interferes with a dog’s duties. When this occurs, the dog may be taken off the leash to perform the necessary task but must be kept under control by voice commands.

What Laws Protect Your ESA?

Though the majority of laws that protect service animals do not apply to emotional support animals, there are a few exceptions. If you have an ESA, then you’re provided with two primary benefits:

  • You can acquire housing with your ESA, regardless of the landlord’s or complex’s policies about pets. You also cannot be charged a pet fee for having an ESA in your home.
  • You can travel with your ESA on airlines, trains, buses, and so on. You are permitted to have your ESA in the cabin of an airplane with you and cannot be charged a pet fee for this.

While laws do not require ESAs, or even service dogs, to be marked as such, most owners of these types of animals find it extremely beneficial to have their dog wear a service dog vest when out in public. This notifies others that your dog is more than just a pet and makes it less likely that you’ll meet with resistance or objection when bringing your ESA on an airplane or other places where regular pets are not generally permitted.

If you’re looking for the best service dog leash, be sure to check our online store. This is one of the easiest ways to ensure you have your rights as an ESA owner recognized by those around you.

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What Can a Service Dog Do for Anxiety: Everything You Need to Know

Millions of people suffer every day from anxiety. Generalized anxiety disorders, high-stress work environments, and different forms of social stressors can present a lot of problems in our daily lives. Thankfully, service dogs have proven to be incredibly helpful for those dealing with anxiety. This goes way beyond a cute smile and a cuddle from your favorite pup. Service dogs can actually provide a lot of support and relief. Here are some amazing ways service dogs can help you or someone you know in a stressful situation.

Detecting Signs of Anxiety

One of the most amazing things about trained service dogs is their ability to detect an anxiety attack before it happens. If your anxiety tends to creep up on you in certain situations, your service dog can alert you when an anxiety attack is coming on. If your service dog detects rising anxiety levels, you can leave the scene and find a safe and calming space for yourself to recover. Service dogs can help you to stop an anxiety attack before it becomes a debilitating situation.

Lead You to Safety

Service dogs can also lead you to a safe place or alert another person for help. For many people, anxiety can become so overwhelming that it’s hard to find an exit, ask for help, or even find a safe place to sit down. Service dogs are trained to get you out of an uncomfortable situation and lead you to safety.

Stop Others from Coming Too Close

Many people suffer from social phobias that can make them feel highly anxious when out in public or in crowded areas. Having a service dog can create that space between you and the public so you don’t feel suffocated or overwhelmed. A service dog can be trained to stop others from coming too close to you. Service dogs are trained not to react in a vicious or aggressive way. They will simply create a strong presence to protect you from elements that might raise your anxiety levels.

Bring You Medication

Service dogs can also bring people medication when their anxiety symptoms appear. They can act as a reminder to take daily medication, or they can be trained to get medication for you if you’re physically unable to get it yourself. Anxiety can be a paralyzing experience for some individuals. If you are in constant need of help with medications for your anxiety, a service dog can assist you.

Use Distraction to Calm You Down

While service dogs are terrific for protection, keeping up with medications, and seeking help when you need it, they’re also great friends. When your service dog detects your anxiety rising, they can actually help to calm you down by using their awesome personalities. A service dog will provide a friendly paw or a sweet kiss on the face when they know you’re feeling anxious. They have an amazing ability to distract you from the stressful situation and remind you that they’re there to protect you. With proper service dog certification, you and your service dog can conquer the world together. Contact the National Service Animal Registry to learn more about how a service dog can help you today!

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The Different Types of Service Dogs: All You Need to Know

You likely know that service dogs are highly skilled animals that are trained to assist someone with a physical or mental disability. But did you know that there are actually many different types of service dogs that perform a variety of functions? This article will tell you a bit more about the different types of service dogs, the jobs they perform, and how they become service animals.

Guide Dogs

Guide dogs are perhaps the first type of service dog that people think of when they learn that an animal has received service animal certification. Guide dogs are specially trained to assist the blind or visually impaired. They wear a harness with a special handle that enables them to guide their owner through busy streets or even around their own home. They can also assist their owner with tasks around the house. References to guide dogs date back as early as the 16th century, but they didn’t become commonplace in the United States until the 1920s.

Hearing Dogs

Dogs can also be trained to help the hearing impaired. Their primary tasks usually involve acting as their owner’s ears. This means alerting them to important sounds, like the doorbell or knock on the door, smoke alarms, alarm clocks, or ringing phones.

Autism Service Dogs

These dogs are trained to help those with autism to become more independent in their daily activities. Not only can they interrupt harmful behavior, alert parents to an autistic child in a dangerous situation, and alert their owner to important noises, but their companionship can also be extremely soothing to those with autism. This can be very important in helping autistic individuals to cope with difficult or unfamiliar situations.

Diabetic Alert Dogs

As you likely know, dogs have an incredible sense of smell. In fact, it’s so incredible that they can detect changes in the glucose levels of their owner’s saliva. This enables them to alert their owner to dangerously low or dangerously high glucose levels so that they can take action before more adverse effects kick in.

Seizure Response Dogs

Contrary to popular thought, seizure response dogs are not actually trained to detect a seizure before it happens. Instead, they’re trained to assist their owner during or immediately after a seizure. This may include activating an alarm to call emergency responders, retrieving medication, finding someone to help, or physically removing the person from a potentially harmful situation.

Mobility Assistance Dogs

Dogs can also be trained to assist those in wheelchairs or who have other mobility impairments. They can be used to physically pull wheelchairs, open and close doors, retrieve objects, and even operate light switches. This enables the person to live much more independently.

Emotional Support Animals

Unlike those mentioned above, emotional support animals do not need to receive any specialized training, and they don’t perform any actual service-based tasks. Rather, their purpose is to simply provide a soothing presence to those who may struggle with anxiety, depression, or other mental or emotional disorders. Additionally, any animal(s) can be an emotional support animal.

Becoming a Service Dog

Typically, the average pet cannot become a service dog. They are usually specially trained from puppyhood to perform the tasks needed to aid others, and they receive their service dog certification upon graduating from their training course. However, if you have an animal that you wish to have registered as a service animal, you may be able to find training courses for them. You can also choose to register any dog or other pet as an emotional service animal.

Check out our website for easy and simple instructions to register your pet as an emotional support animal.

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ESA vs Service Dogs: What’s the Difference?

While both serve humans, emotional support animals — commonly referred to as ESAs — and service dogs are often confused. These two types of service animals are similar in that they can provide emotional support for those that need it, but there are many differences between them. Understanding these differences will allow you to properly select and certify an animal for your needs. Here are some of the key differences between these two types of service animal certifications.

Function

Many think that emotional support animals and service dogs are interchangeable, but these two types of service animals are meant for separate tasks. A service dog is specially trained to perform a function or job for an owner that has a physical, intellectual, or emotional disability. An emotional support animal serves as more of a companion for the owner. A service dog may still be able to provide the comfort of an emotional support animal, but it has been trained to complete tasks that a support dog will not.

Protection

Service dogs are usually needed more frequently as they help the owner with physical tasks. Thus, they are offered legal protections through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that emotional support animals do not get. You can take a service dog almost anywhere that you go and they legally cannot be denied access. An emotional support dog, on the other hand, doesn’t share the same legal protections. It’s important to understand that if you have an emotional support dog, they may not be allowed into areas that a service dog will. Legal protection of an emotional support animal is limited to housing and air travel. However, there may be businesses that will allow you to bring your emotional support animal inside, so you’ll have to check with them beforehand.

Certification

As these types of support animals provide different services, the certifications also differ. A service dog agency will help to find a specially trained dog to assist with a person’s disability. While only a specifically-trained dog can be a service dog, any pet can be considered an emotional support animal. The person looking to acquire certification needs to have a disability diagnosed by a doctor or mental health professional and receive a letter stating how the animal will be of benefit.

Sleeping Puppy

Differentiating Your Support Dog

If your support dog doesn’t have anything that differentiates it from any other dogs, people may not recognize that it’s providing assistance for you. If you have a service dog, you might want to consider having it wear a colored vest. While this is not a requirement, it will tell those working in places you go that the dog is a service dog, and they are less likely to try to stop you from entering with it. If you have an emotional support dog, you should carry your medical letter with you, as this will provide evidence that the dog is officially a support animal.

If you suffer from a disability, be it physical or emotional, you may benefit from an animal’s support. Understanding the differences between a service dog and an emotional support animal will allow you to receive the correct service animal certification. For more information, contact the National Service Animal Registry today!