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Spotlight on Assistance Dogs

August 1, 2021

International Assistance Dog Week starts today, August 1st. Plus, International Assistance Dog Day is coming up on the 4th. Dogs are truly amazing animals! Fido’s loyalty, intuition, intelligence, and hard work are special gifts. These special traits are all crucial for guide dogs. These wonderful pups help people with disabilities or medical challenges live independently. A vet discusses assistance dogs in this article.

A Helping Paw

Assistance Dog Week is something we are happy to shed light on. The week started with the intent to honor all of the loving, devoted pups that help their human pals live their best lives. However, there’s more to it than just giving our canine companions a well-deserved pat on the head. It’s also about raising awareness. The people who train and place assistance dogs also deserve recognition. These dogs and trainers have made incredible differences in people’s lives.

What Is An Assistance Dog?

Many people get assistance dogs mixed up with therapy dogs. These pooches are not the same, though they do have a few things in common. For one thing, they both help their owners live full, fulfilling lives. They’re also adorable! That said, there are some clear distinctions. Assistance dogs, which are also called service dogs, have been trained to perform specific tasks or functions. They are protected by law, and are allowed to go anywhere their humans go. There are only a few exceptions, such as hospitals and laboratories, as these environments must be kept sterile. Therapy dogs have been trained to help people cope with things like sadness, grief, trauma, PTSD, depression, or anxiety.


Man’s Best Friend has to meet some specific requirements before he can be classified as an assistance dog. Assistance dogs help their humans overcome or mitigate the disability in some way. His owner must be officially disabled, according to law. Fido must also have proven himself to be a Good Boy in public, and to act properly and well-behaved at all times. Assistance dogs must also be in good health and kept up to proper hygiene standards. Regular check-ups and health screenings are crucial for these working dogs. To learn more about how we ensure the health of all animals, including assistance dogs, check out our Veterinary Diagnostics services.


One good example of an assistance dog would be a Seeing Eye Dog, who helps guide a blind owner around. However, there are many different types of assistance dogs, and they perform many different tasks. For instance, Fido may detect oncoming seizures or drops in blood sugar for diabetics, and act accordingly. It’s worth noting that cats can also provide assistance, particularly for those with hearing impairments. To learn more about caring for animals with special needs, you might be interested in our article on Caring For A Deaf Cat.

Meeting Fido

You should never interact with an assistance dog. In many places, it’s now a felony to harm or interfere with an assistance dog. It may not be illegal to pet them, but it is inconsiderate. Never touch or interact with an assistance dog without express permission. After all, Fido is working like a dog, and needs to focus on his duties!

As your local veterinary clinic in Cavan Monaghan, ON, we’re here to help! Call us anytime!