How to Register a Service Dog in or Assistance Dog in the UK

Registering a Service Dog in or Assistance Dog in the UK 

Registering a Service Dog in or Assistance Dog in the UK 

For individuals grappling with physical or psychological limitations, traditional medicine is the typical route to treatment and lifestyle increases. However, there has emerged a fresh avenue for rehabilitation in recent times, centering around service dogs, often referred to as Assistance Dogs in the UK. Diverging from pets, service dogs or assistance dogs exhibit remarkable proficiency in executing specific duties and furnishing solace during moments of strain. This capacity empowers those with disabilities to preserve their autonomy while making strides in enhancing their overall well-being. 

In the United States, the acknowledgment of service dogs spans a broad spectrum, encompassing domains such as medical facilities, educational institutions, commercial establishments, lodging facilities, transit systems, and various public arenas. For those pondering the possibility of their canine companion assuming the mantle of a certified service aide, enabling unrestricted companionship across the landscapes of the United Kingdom, certain fundamental aspects warrant careful consideration. 

How to Qualify for a Service Dog/Assistance Dog in the UK 

Pursuant to the rules outlined by Assistance Dogs International, to be eligible for a service dog or assistance dog, you must have at least one disability or illness that affects daily activity. The illness or disability should be something diagnosed by a licensed medical professional. Illness or disability is a very broad spectrum and can cover a wide range of conditions including: 

  • Mobility impairments 
  • Autism 
  • Diabetes 
  • Epilepsy  
  • Cancer 
  • Visual and other sensory impairments 
  • Sleep disorders  

Service Dog/Assistance Dog Requirements in the UK 

The key marker of a service dog or an assistance dog in the UK is training. All Service dogs must be trained to perform a task to assist their handlers with a disability/illness. No tests are required in the United States, but in the UK it is more common to complete a public access test to confirm that your assistance dog is adequately trained Public access tests will test 6 basic requirements which are: 

  • Staying with the Handler 
  • Controlled exiting of Vehicle 
  • Entering doorways in a controlled fashion 
  • Always remaining within 6 feet of handler 
  • Adequately ignoring distractions  
  • Dining with handler in public space 

How to Certify a Service Dog/Assistance Dog in the UK 

In the UK, the UK Equality Act of 2010 (EA) provides protection for service dogs/assistance dogs from unlawful discrimination in public places where pets and animals are otherwise prohibited and this includes public transit and air travel. Businesses are required to accommodate handlers and their assistance dogs in their establishments. 

Similar to the United States, there is no official government run service dog registry or formal registration process. Rather, service dog status is regulated by the community and it is recognized that animals that have been trained by a reputable organization are valid service dogs or assistances dogs. The organizations are Assistance Dogs International and The International Guide Dog Foundation. 

As a matter of convenience and to ensure proper access as intended by EA, many service dog and assistance dog handlers choose to voluntarily register their dogs and carry a digital ID card and/or certificate with them that is compatible with both Apple and Google Wallets. This can prevent uncomfortable situations or confusion when interacting with staff at public establishments.   

Service dogs should also always be easily identifiable as such by the use physical markers such as bandanas or collars so that the public can quickly confirm service dog status without having to interact directly with a handler 

Limits and Qualifications For a Service Dog/Assistance Dog Requirements in the UK 

Only properly trained and certified service dogs are eligible for the particular benefits discussed here. It’s important to note that the existing regulations in the United Kingdom do not extend these privileges to other forms of assistance animals such as emotional support animals and therapy dogs. Additionally, in contrast to the United States, the majority of airlines operating in the UK exclusively recognize service dogs as “assistance animals” permitted in the passenger cabin. Animals of other categories, such as emotional support animals and pets, are typically required to be transported in the cargo hold. This implies that if your emotional support pet offers comfort and relief from anxieties or ailments without undergoing specialized training, it could potentially be restricted from various settings including homes and airplanes. 

Register now to receive your uniquely identifiable Service Dog Identification and Certification.