Official Service Dog Certificiate

The Different Types Of Support Dogs Cheat-sheet


Three Types of Support Dogs

There are three main types of support dogs: Service Dogs, Emotional Support Animals (ESA) / Emotional Support Dogs (ESD), and Therapy Dogs. While there are similarities and crossover between the three groups, there are also notable distinctions. Check out the infographic and table below to learn more about the different types of support dogs.

Types of Support Dogs
What Are The Different Types Of Support Dogs
RegistrationService DogEmotional Support AnimalTherapy Dog
OverviewService dogs are specifically trained to assist their handlers in dealing with a wide range of disabilitiesEmotional support animals provide critical care for individuals suffering from emotional distress and mental illness, including anxiety and depression.  Therapy dogs are specifically trained to provide therapy services to those suffering from physical and/or emotional trauma
Accessibility RightsService dogs are permitted to accompany their owners in all publicly accessible places, with very little exceptions.Increased access compared to pets, although public establishments generally maintain ultimate discretion. Unlike Service Animals, ESAs are not statutorily permitted to fly.Therapy dogs are working dogs and typically are placed in hospitals, children’s centers, retirement homes and trauma centers.
ValidityRecognized in the United Stated under the Americans with Disabilities Act in addition to Canada, the U.K., the E.U. and AustraliaRecognized in the United Stated under the Americans with Disabilities Act in addition to Canada and the U.KTherapy dogs are privately recognized by the healthcare community and private establishments
Notable RecognitionServices dogs are legally permitted to accompany their owners on airplanes and in hotels at no extra chargeLandlords are required to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals with ESAs, even if your building or housing does not allow pets.Therapy dogs are recognized as providing beneficial and stress relieving support to first responders including police officers and 911 operators
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