How Much Does A Service Dog Cost?

Susana Bradford
April 14, 2023
8 minutes
Having a service dog can be an essential part of your life, but there are costs attached. Learn about service dog pricing and your different options with Pettable.

Service dogs can be life-changing for people with disabilities, providing them with independence, companionship, and a sense of security. But one common question people have when considering getting a service dog is: How much does it cost? The answer, unfortunately, is not straightforward. Service dog costs can vary greatly depending on various factors, including the type of service dog, the organization providing the dog, and the dog's training needs. In this article, we'll break down the costs associated with getting a service dog and provide you with some helpful tips on how to afford one.

Overview of Service Dog Costs

The cost of a service dog can vary depending on factors such as the dog's breed, training, and the organization providing the service. On average, a service dog can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 or more. However, these costs can be dramatically lowered by choosing more affordable options such as online dog training. Alternatively, some organizations may provide service dogs at a reduced cost or even for free to qualified individuals with disabilities. It's important to do your research and consider all options before committing to a service dog to ensure you're getting the best fit for your needs and budget.

What is a Service Dog? 

If you are suffering from a mental health problem or a disability, you should consider getting a service dog or service animal. Trained to assist individuals with disabilities, a service dog will act as your animal guide, whether your complications are related to mobility, hearing or vision disorders, mental health issues, seizures, or any other disorders.

They are well-behaved and highly trained, and the cherry on top is that they perform tasks to meet the specific needs of their owners. They will alert you to the sounds around you if you have a hearing problem. If you have a visual impairment, they will guide you and provide stability in your day-to-day life, and so on. 

Service dogs are protected by law and are allowed to accompany their owners to public places and on public transportation. They are also exempt from certain housing restrictions, such as no-pet policies, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States.

How Much Does a Service Dog Cost?

The price of a service dog is influenced by various factors, including the breed, the kind of training needed, and the particular tasks that the dog will be trained to undertake. On average, the cost may range from $20,000 to $40,000, or more. 

Some breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, which are frequently used as support dogs may be more costly than others. The price might also be expensive if the dog required more specialized training like detecting seizures or warning of low blood sugar. 

Another thing to note is that getting a service dog can be a long process. Sometimes, there might be extra expenses such as veterinary care, food, and equipment. To help with the cost, some organizations that supply service dogs could provide financial aid or payment arrangements like FSA Reimbursement for ESA or PSD

How To Get A Service Dog

Getting a service dog involves a multi-step process that can sometimes be expensive. Most importantly, you must make sure that your service dog is properly trained. If you already have a dog, you take an online service dog training course or pay for in-person training. Alternatively, you can buy an already-trained service dog. 

Take an online service dog training course

An online training course is affordable and convenient for training your service dog. These courses enable you to train a service dog yourself without needing to hire a dog trainer.

Pettable offers an online PSD training course that walks you through the steps of training a psychiatric service dog. If you want to give online PSD training a try, we offer your money back if you aren’t satisfied after seven days.

Pay for in-person service dog training 

Compared to an online training course, paying for in-person service dog training can be a significant expense, but it is an important investment in your Psychiatric service dog training and your quality of life. 

To help meet the cost, you can look for non-profit organizations and charities that provide the services at a low price for people with disabilities. You can also apply for personal loans, get a health insurance plan that covers the expenses, or have a fundraising campaign to raise the money required. 

Buy a trained service dog

You can also opt to buy a trained service dog if you need immediate assistance and cannot wait for the dog to be trained. It might be expensive to purchase a fully trained PSD dog, so you should choose a reputable and certified service dog organization or trainer to avoid getting scammed. 

Types of Service Dogs

There are two major types of service dogs: Psychiatric service dogs and Service dogs for physical disabilities. 

Psychiatric service dogs 

Psychiatric service dogs (PSD) are trained to help people cope emotionally with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and bipolar disorder. These canines are taught to carry out particular duties that assist their owners in living more freely and managing the symptoms of their disabilities.

Some of the tasks that PSD may perform 

  • Providing a calming presence
  • Interrupting self-harming behavior
  • Providing deep-pressure therapy
  • Alerting to anxiety or panic attacks
  • Assisting with mobility

Service dogs for physical disabilities 

Service dogs for people with physical disabilities are trained to help people with conditions like cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, and movement issues. These canines are taught to carry out a variety of jobs that aid their owners in daily tasks and boost their independence.

Some of the tasks that service dogs for physical disabilities may perform include:

  • Retrieving objects
  • Opening and closing doors
  • Assisting with mobility
  • Turning lights on and off
  • Providing stability and balance
  • Alerting to sounds
  • Providing physical support

How Much Does It Cost To Own A Service Dog?

The price of a service dog is influenced by various factors, including the breed, the kind of training needed, and the particular tasks that the dog will be trained to undertake. On average, the cost may range from $20,000 to $40,000, or more. The cost can be significantly lower if you opt to self-train a service dog with the help of an online training program.

Aside from the base cost of a service dog, you also need to account for the general costs of owning a dog. These costs include food, veterinary care and the cost of various dog equipment.

How Can I Pay For A Service Dog?

Service dogs can be expensive, but luckily, there are affordable options that can help you pay for them.  One of these options is the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) Reimbursement For Your ESA or PSD which can help you cover expenses associated with your service animal including food, training, and veterinary costs. 

You can also apply for assistance programs, grants, or scholarships in non-profit programs like Assistance Dog International which provides service dogs to people with disabilities. 

Alternatively, you can choose Pettable PSD training for service dogs, which is also an affordable option. 

Who Qualifies for a Service Dog?

People who have a disability that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The disability can be a physical one like hearing or vision impairment or mental health disorder like depression or anxiety. 

Service Dog Vs Emotional Support Animal

A service dog is a type of assistance animal that is trained to perform specific tasks to assist a person with a disability while Emotional support animals (ESAs) are animals that provide emotional support or comfort to their owners but are not trained to perform specific tasks related to a person's disability. 

Pettable Psychiatric Service Dog Training

At Pettable, we offer affordable  Pettable Psychiatric Service Dog Training from a certified trainer. Our training includes evidence-based methods for supporting mental health disabilities with psychiatric service dog work tasks including deep pressure therapy (DPT) and providing tactile stimulation to support the interruption of panic attacks, self-harm, and other symptoms.

We guarantee that the training program will not only work for you but also for your service dog.

Meet the author:
Susana Bradford

Susana is an avid animal lover and has been around animals her entire life, and has volunteered at several different animal shelters in Southern California. She has a loving family at home that consists of her husband, son, two dogs, and one cat. She enjoys trying new Italian recipes, playing piano, making pottery, and outdoor hiking with her family and dogs in her spare time.