How to Register a Service Dog in Washington in 3 Simple Steps

Service Dog in Washington

The State of Washington acknowledges the importance of service dogs to individuals with disabilities and provides a clear legal framework for the use of service dogs in public establishments. Service dogs are legally allowed in public places in Washington and are not subject to discrimination based on local regulations.

Service Dog in Washington Definition

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service dog as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. In Washington, private businesses and non-profit organizations that serve the public are generally required to allow service dogs to accompany their handlers in all areas where the public is permitted.

How to Register a Service Dog in Washington

Here are the steps you need to follow to have your dog become a service dog in Washington:

  • Identify the right service dog for your disability
  • Ensure proper training
  • Registering and certifying your service dog

Step 1: Identify the Right Service Dog for Your Disability

Any dog breed can be a service dog, but certain breeds have characteristics and instincts that make them better suited for specific tasks. In Washington, service dogs can assist individuals with psychiatric disabilities, such as:

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • OCD
  • Schizophrenia
  • Substance Abuse and Addiction
  • Eating Disorders

Service dogs can assist those suffering from psychiatric disabilities in many ways, such as through tactile stimulation, blocking in public spaces, helping with taking medication, and more physical and emotional tasks.

Do I qualify for a support dog?

Take the support dog certification quiz now and you'll gain a better understanding of the type of assistance you require and the potential benefits of having a service dog registration or an emotional support animal registration.

Step 2: Ensure Proper Training

This is the most critical step in having your dog become a service dog. Training and temperament are the key aspects and markers of a service dog. Washington does not issue or require any formal training certifications. This aspect of the process is self-regulated by the community.

 Step 3: Registering and Certifying Your Service Dog in Washington

There is no official registry for service dogs in Washington, and service dog certificates are not a formal requirement. Any service dog registry claiming to be government-operated or sanctioned is false information. Business operators and government officials cannot legally require proof of registration, training, or licensing as a condition to enter their establishment where the public is invited.

The only two questions that are permissible for you to be asked about your service dog are:

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

Once you confirm the above, businesses must make reasonable accommodations. Unfortunately, many businesses that interact with the public are unfamiliar with the laws surrounding service animals and insist on receiving proof of service dog registration.

For convenience and to ensure proper access as intended by the ADA, many service dog handlers choose to voluntarily register their dogs as service dogs and carry a digital ID card and/or certificate with them, or use physical markers such as a collar, bandana, or ID tag. This can prevent uncomfortable situations or confusion when interacting with staff at public establishments.

Emotional Support Animals in Washington

In Washington, emotional support animals (ESAs) are recognized as assistance animals but do not have the same access rights as service dogs. Individuals with disabilities who do not meet certain thresholds or have dogs that are not trained to perform specific tasks may be eligible to register their dog as an ESA.

Having a registered ESA comes with some benefits, such as being able to travel with your animal without incurring extra fees or being able to live in pet-restricted housing.

Living with Your Service Dog in Washington

Washington law requires that reasonable accommodations be made for individuals with service dogs in any place where “the general public is invited”. This means that you can bring your service dog with you in places such as public transportation, movie theaters, hotels, schools, and restaurants.

In addition to carrying a digital ID card or certificate, some service dog handlers also choose to use physical markers such as collars, bandanas, and ID tags to identify their service dogs. These markers can help prevent confusion or discomfort when interacting with staff at public establishments.

In conclusion, the State of Washington allows individuals with disabilities to have their service dogs accompany them in all public spaces. The state does not require mandatory registration or certification for service dogs, however a digital ID and/or certificate can be helpful in avoiding confusion or disputes. Additionally, those with disabilities who do not meet certain thresholds or have dogs that are not trained to perform specific tasks may be eligible to register their dog as an ESA.

Register your support dog online now to receive your instant Service Dog Registration, Service Dog certificate and Service Dog Certification Documents or Register your Emotional Support Animal for ESA Registration, ESA  Certification and Emotional Support Animal Certificate Documents