Service dog eligibility information

*Before completing the Application Request Form, please review the following Program Admission Information to determine if you are qualified.*    

Who is eligible to apply to America's VetDogs? 

Men and women who are active military, veterans who have been honorably discharged, and first responders who have a work related disability, PTSD, or a visual or hearing impairment.

Our PTSD service dog program is limited to veterans with combat-related PTSD and first-responders with work-related PTSD who are currently in ongoing counseling and have been under the consistent care of a Mental Health Professional for a minimum of 1 year, prior to applying. Our Seizure Response Dog program is limited to veterans suffering from a minimum of one seizure a month. Also eligible are Facilities working with Military organizations that provide physical or mental health care to clients who will benefit from interaction with an Assistance Dog.

For guide dog users, we accept residents of the United States who are age 16 and older and classified as legally or totally blind.  We also require that each student have the ability to independently travel using their current mobility device.  Applicants must also be physically able to work with a guide dog and also be able to care for their dog.   If an applicant has successfully completed O & M training within the past several years, we will request an O & M instructor's report.  Some exceptions to residency are considered on a case-by-case basis. 

How long is the waiting list for an assistance dog?   

We are excited to say that America's VetDogs is now able to service our nations' heroes faster. Our current average wait time for approved applicants is now 9-12 months, depending on the client’s needs.

What are the responsibilities of someone who receives an assistance dog from America's VetDogs?  

To begin, they must be able to attend a two-week residential training program.  They must be committed to maintaining the dog’s training throughout the duration of the team.  The dog is required to wear an identifying America's VetDogs issued vest and accompany the handler to their working environment.  The team is required to participate in follow-up care with our training staff, including annual to bi-annual, in person, Assistance Dog International Public Access Tests.  They must also provide for the well-being of the dog (veterinary care, proper grooming, exercise, etc.; approximately $75 - $100 per month).   It is advisable to research yearly veterinary, grooming and feeding costs in your specific area prior to applying for an assistance dog.  America's VetDogs provides full training support and after-care by our Field Representatives for all of its graduate teams.    

What types of dogs are used?  

Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and crosses of the two breeds are utilized.  Some Standard Poodle dogs are available for individuals with documented allergies.  We are not currently accepting applications for new Poodle Guide Dog applicants. All Guide Dog Foundation dogs pass specialized health and temperament screenings to be eligible for training. 

How old are the dogs when they are matched?  

Dogs are approximately 18 to 24 months old.  

What tasks are America's VetDogs trained to do? 

  • Guide Dogs help their partners safely navigate busy streets and intersections.   
  • Service Dogs perform tasks such as assist opening doors, alert family member that handler requires assistance, retrieve items as well as specifically named items such as medications, phone, cane, etc.
  • Service Dogs for PTSD are trained for tasks such as nightmare interruption, alerting a family member that the handler needs assistance, perform calming tasks and extension of the handler’s personal space to help mitigate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Seizure Response Dogs are trained to respond appropriately when their partner is having a seizure. Specific tasks such as pushing an emergency device or retrieving a named item may be requested.
  • Military Facility Dogs provide physical or mental health care to clients who will benefit from interaction with an Assistance Dog.
  • Hearing Dogs are trained to alert their handler to specific noises such as an alarm, doorbell, telephone, etc. Our Hearing Dog program is currently accepting a limited number of applicants
  • Service Dog for MST

America’s VetDogs does not provide diabetic alert dogs, dogs that detect medical symptoms such as cancer, dogs that provide personal protection, or emotional support dogs.

Can the America's VetDogs train a client’s own dog to be their assistance dog?

No, America’s VetDogs only trains dogs that were bred through their extensive breeding program.  This assures that dogs accepted into the training program have the health, temperament and ability to be assistance dogs   

What if I have other pets in my home? 

The instructors will make a decision on a case by case basis regarding the other pets in the household. No other pets will be allowed if the instructor concludes that they will interfere with an assistance dog working.  We will not place dogs in a home with an aggressive pet or a puppy under a year old.

How much does it cost?   

There is no cost to the student. Although it can cost over $50,000 to train and place one assistance dog, all of our services, including transportation and accommodations at our New York campus are provided at no cost to the student, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of public contributions.  

What types of team training do you provide? 

America's VetDogs offers a two-week residential training program at our campus is Smithtown, New York.

How do I apply for a dog?

The admission process starts when a prospective applicant fills out Part 1 of our application, which can be completed on our website.  If the applicant would prefer a hard copy of the application, it is available upon request.  If the prospective applicant has questions about our programs or would like more information about the assistance dog lifestyle, the Admissions Department is available by phone or email to answer any questions at 1-866-282-8047 or

Consumer Services reviews each application to see if the applicant meets America's VetDogs criteria for working with an assistance dog.  If they determine that a prospective applicant has met our criteria and feel that an Assistance Dog is the right choice for them, Part 2 of the application is sent to the applicant.  Part 2 of the application includes medical reports for your doctors to complete, a mental health report if the applicant is being seen by a Mental health Professional, a form for the applicants Support Person to complete and instructions on how to create and submit the required Applicant Video.  The Applicant Video gives us a glimpse of the applicants disability and needs, as well as the areas where they live and work.  Please click here for a sample video.  Once completed, applicants are scheduled for a series of interviews with our staff and the completed application is reviewed by our Selection Committee for consideration.

What happens once I complete and submit the application packet?

Once an individual completes the application packet, our team will review each application to determine if the applicant may be a good candidate for a guide or service dog.  After completion of the application materials, we will then contact the applicant to arrange an interview with a staff member and some clients are required to participate in an additional interview with our behavioral health professional.  These interviews will be scheduled either in-person, through video chat, or over the phone.  Information gathered through these interviews help us better understand the applicant’s needs, providing vital information for the matching process.  

Once accepted, formal notification will be given, and based on the materials submitted, our training staff will begin the matching process to find an appropriate dog within 12  months.  Once a dog is matched, the applicant will be contacted for an upcoming class.

I completed the application request form, but haven’t been contacted.  Why?  

Due to the large number of requests for specially trained assistance dogs, America's VetDogs will respond to your application request within 15 business days.   

If you have read and understood the admission program information, please click the "Apply Now" button below to fill out our Application Request Form.