4 Things to Consider Before Getting a Service Dog


Having a service dog can greatly enhance the life of someone living with muscular dystrophy. They allow patients to regain some of their independence by helping with small everyday tasks like opening and closing doors, fetching meds, acting as a prop or support as their owner stands, switching on lights and attracting attention in cases of emergency. As well as the help they give people with MD, service dogs make great companions.

However, not everyone with MD is suitable for a service dog. According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association you need to consider a few aspects before deciding whether a service dog is for you.

MOREHow service dogs can benefit people with neuromuscular diseases. 

Assess your accommodations. 
You need to live in a place big enough for a service dog. Other things to take into consideration are whether or not you have a yard and if it’s secure.

Do you have any other pets?
Most service dog providers recommend that the dog is the only pet in the household, so if you already have a dog or a cat, it may be a problem.

Can you take care of the dog?
Having a service dog is a two-way street. You will need to be able to feed, groom, and clean up after your dog or have someone else who can.

Can you afford a service dog?
In addition to the initial cost of the animal, it costs an estimated $1,500 to $2,000 a year to look after a service dog, including food and health care. The average service dog stays with an individual or family for around eight years.

MORE: Emflaza may soon be available in the U.S. at a lower price.

Muscular Dystrophy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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  1. Bruce Catlin says:

    You missed a couple. Training – you have to keep up with their skills. Service dogs will grow lax in skills if they do not practice and continue to be trained in them. They need continuing training their whole working lives to maintain sharpness. Another one is touched on in several areas but should be in a category all of it’s own. Commitment. A better description than a two way street would probably be a partnership. Not part time – 24/7. A service dog will spend most of their lives helping you, caring for you, basically sharing your disability. They deserve the caring for,
    the absolute love and devotion they show you returned in kind.

    • Tim Bossie says:

      You’re absolutely right Bruce. Training and commitment are invaluable and should be first in the though process when thinking about a service dog.

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