Service Dog Costs: A Guide For Buyers

by Haley Mills · June 28, 2023

Discover the true cost of owning a service dog with our ultimate guide for buyers. Don’t get caught off guard – read now!

If you or a loved one is considering getting a service dog, it is important to understand the financial commitment involved. Service dogs are highly skilled animals that require extensive training and care, which can result in a hefty price tag. According to NSARCO, the cost of a service dog can range from $15,000 to $50,000 upfront, plus yearly expenses.

This article guides buyers on the costs associated with service dogs, the different types available, and payment options. Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks to assist individuals with disabilities, such as guiding the blind, alerting the deaf, or providing stability for those with mobility impairments. These dogs are not considered pets but rather working animals that provide essential support and independence to their handlers.

While the cost of a service dog can seem daunting, it is important to remember that these animals are highly skilled and require extensive training and care. In the following sections, we will break down the costs and payment options associated with service dogs and provide information on the different types of service dogs and emotional support animals.

Key Takeaways

  • Service dogs require extensive training and care, costing $15,000-$50,000 upfront and yearly expenses.
  • Service dogs perform specific tasks to assist individuals with disabilities, and training time can range from 4 months to 2 years with trainer fees of $150-$250 per hour.
  • Payment options for service dogs include nonprofit grants, saving up, or taking out a personal loan.
  • Guide dogs cost upwards of $50,000 and assist individuals with visual impairments, while medical assist dogs cost $15,000 to $50,000 and assist with medical and mobility issues. Emotional support animals (ESAs) provide emotional support and require a letter from a licensed mental health professional, but they are not considered service animals under the ADA.

Service Dog Costs and Payment Options

A service dog can be expensive, ranging from $15,000-$50,000 upfront. This high cost is mainly due to the extensive training and care service dogs require. The training time for a service dog can range from 4 months to 2 years, depending on the specific tasks they are trained for.

In addition to the cost of training, professional trainer fees can range from $150-$250 per hour. However, payment options are available for those who need a service dog but cannot afford the upfront cost. Nonprofit grants are one option, as well as saving up for the cost over time.

Another option is to take out a personal loan to cover the cost. It’s important to note that service dogs are not covered by insurance, so it’s up to the individual or family to cover the cost. Nonprofit funding is a great option for those who qualify, as it can greatly reduce the financial burden of acquiring a service dog.

Types of Service Dogs

Depending on the individual’s needs, different types of trained animals may be utilized as service animals.

Guide dog training is the most well-known type of service animal training. These dogs are specially trained to assist individuals with visual impairments, leading them safely through their daily lives. They are trained to stop at curbs, navigate obstacles, and locate specific objects. These dogs are often trained for 4-6 months and can cost upwards of $50,000.

Another type of service animal is a medical assist dog. These dogs are trained to alert their owner to medical issues like seizures or low blood sugar. They can also assist with mobility issues, such as retrieving items or helping their owner stand up.

Medical assistance dogs can take up to 2 years to train, costing anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000. It’s important to note that these costs cover the extensive training and care that these animals require to become effective service animals.

What is the cost of obtaining a service dog for POTS?

Many factors can influence the cost of getting a service dog for POTS, including the breed of dog, training programs, and ongoing care. The expenses can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands, depending on individual needs and requirements.

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)

ESAs don’t require specific training, but a letter from a licensed mental health professional is necessary to qualify for legal protections. These animals provide emotional support to their owners and can be any breed or size. The letter from the mental health professional must include information about the owner’s diagnosis and how the animal provides support.

Legal protections for ESAs include the ability to fly with the animal in the cabin of an airplane and the ability to live in housing that does not allow pets. However, it’s important to note that ESAs are not considered service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act and do not have the same access rights as trained service animals.

Requirements for ESAs are less strict than those for service animals, but they must still be well-behaved and not threaten others.

Conclusion

In conclusion, getting a service dog can be significant, ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 upfront, plus yearly expenses. However, the benefits of having a highly trained service animal can be life-changing for individuals with disabilities.

Potential buyers must research and understand the different types of service dogs available and their associated costs. Additionally, it’s important to note that emotional support animals (ESAs) are not considered service dogs and do not have the same legal protections.

ESAs can provide emotional support but don’t receive the same extensive training as service dogs. Buyers should carefully consider their needs and options before making a decision.

With proper research and preparation, getting a service dog can be a worthwhile investment for individuals with disabilities.

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

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Fact Checked

Verified and Approved by:

Ellen Ernst, Head of Operations at Wellness Wag

Ellen Ernst

Head of Operations at Wellness Wag

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