Last Updated on September 27, 2023
There are many ways mobility aids can help the quality of life of a wheelchair user. You can install a wheelchair ramp, a stairlift, or provide other aids around the home, but you can also offer a mobility service dog. These are slightly different from support animals, although they can provide emotional support to the owner in addition to helping them with tasks of daily living.
Find out more below about special assistance dogs, how to get a service dog for a wheelchair user, and more about dogs that help humans with disabilities.
What Do Service Dogs Do?
How do dogs help people in wheelchairs? There are several things service dogs can do. Dogs for wheelchair users and other service dogs have many mobility service dog tasks. A service dog for a wheelchair user can
- Open and close doors
- Adjust their owner’s positioning
- Retrieve objects that have fallen onto the ground
- Carry objects for their owner
- Help with clothing removal
- Assist when getting in and out of the wheelchair
If you’re wondering, “Do service dogs pull wheelchairs?”, the answer is yes. Service dogs can push or pull a wheelchair as trained or needed.
Mobility service dogs can also perform other tasks, such as:
- Pushing elevator buttons
- Helping with the removal of clothing
- Turning lights on and off
- Assisting with laundry
- Accessing high counters or things out of reach
- Aiding their owner in transferring in and out of the wheelchair
Some patients may not be in wheelchairs but may have other issues that interfere with mobility, such as cerebral palsy, arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), vertigo, and other conditions.
What Are the Best Breeds for Mobility Service Dogs?
When thinking about a dog for mobility assistance, you want to consider the best mobility service dog breeds, but there are other factors.
For example, you don’t want a mobility service dog that requires a lot of coat care, and you also want a sizable dog to perform certain tasks, such as reaching items on a counter or pushing a wheelchair if needed.
Age and gender are also factors, as older dogs are slower and female dogs are typically smaller—however, this does not rule them out. Some of the best breeds for service dogs include:
- Golden retrievers
- Standard poodles
- Labrador retrievers
- American Staffordshire terriers
- German shepherds
Generally, these breeds are often used as other service dogs and are gentle, loving breeds.
Research supports the fact that service animals can be of great help to a number of different people with varying degrees of disabilities. One of the concerns with an elderly or aging patient who chooses to “age in place” is the worry that they have significant mobility issues, which hampers them from doing daily tasks, or increases the risk of accidents or falls. There are many uses for service dogs. Service dogs can also provide emotional support if the owner has mental health conditions.
Mobility Service Dog Requirements
Patients often wonder how to qualify for a mobility assistance dog or wonder what mobility service dog organizations are out there. Anyone with a documented disability is eligible for a service dog. This will require proof by a physician; however, the patient can typically show other proof, such as a statement from the Social Security Administration if SSI or SSDI is received. It is also possible to register your own dog as a service dog; however, this is a more complicated option when it comes to mobility service dogs, as they must be specially trained. Registering your own animal as an emotional support animal is easier, but those dogs do not always provide physical support.
Organizations you can contact regarding a mobility service dog include but are not limited to:
- Paws with a Cause
- Leader Dogs for the Blind
- 4 Paws for Ability
- Guide Dogs of America
- New Horizons
If you’re curious about mobility service dog size requirements, the answer is that there are no size limits on service dogs. Any breed and any type/size can be a service dog; the only regulation is that the dog must be registered with the Service Dog Registration of America to be legally recognized under the ADA.
For those wondering about the cost of a mobility service dog for the physically handicapped, the answer is roughly $17,000, the national average. However, many organizations are dedicated to ensuring that those who truly need mobility service dogs receive one through funding and grants. This is especially true regarding service dogs for paraplegics or those with severe developmental disabilities.
To learn more about service dogs or other mobility products that can be life-changing, such as stair lifts or power chairs, contact Williams Lift Co. today. We want both patients and caregivers to live their best lives possible.