Eligibility: How to Determine if You Qualify for a Service Dog
If you are a veteran, active duty servicemember, or first responder who is interested in applying for a service dog, please review the following information to determine if you meet our eligibility requirements.
- You have served in any of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces from any era, and have received an honorable discharge or you are an active duty military member who plans to remain state-side and is able to provide command approval.
- You are a first responder who has a work related disability.
- You are visually or hearing impaired or physically disabled.
- You can participate in our two-week training program and will be committed to our training program and schedule.
- You live in the USA or Canada and have stable living arrangements.
- Applicants must be dedicated to meet all the physical, emotional, and training needs of the service dog, including:
- Daily feeding, grooming, play, exercise, and relieving (bathroom) breaks. Food, toys, and grooming supplies cost $600-$700 per year.
- Annual veterinary examinations and vet care as needed for unexpected health issues. It is best to plan an average of $600 per year for veterinary costs, although this will vary from year to year.
- Identifying a local support network that can provide care for the dog in the event that you are unable to
- Our PTSD service dog program is limited to veterans with combat-related PTSD and first-responders with work-related PTSD.
- America’s VetDogs has begun to trial a pilot program, accepting veterans with MST, which has a limited enrollment.
- Applicant’s with a PTSD diagnosis or MST are required to be in current ongoing therapy and have been under the consistent care of a Mental Health Professional for a minimum of 6 months, prior to applying.
- We require applicant’s with a history of substance abuse to be completely sober and abstinent from substance use for a minimum of 1 year to be eligible for our programs.
How much does a service dog cost?
All services are provided at free of charge to accepted applicants
— this includes your dog, transportation to and from our campus in Smithtown, New York, instruction, and more.
Each handler is responsible for the care of their dog after placement, which is estimated to cost about $100 a month. Some veterans may qualify for the VA Veterinary Health Insurance Benefit, but this benefit is not a guarantee and can be a lengthy process to get approval. Reliance upon this benefit should not be anticipated, all applicants are expected to be able to financially support their service dog.
If you have any questions about our programs, please reach out to the America's VetDogs Admissions Department at 866-282-8047 or Applications@VetDogs.org.