A service dog is like any other dog- well maybe with some added super abilities! There are many different reasons to have a service dog and many different uses for their services. But, they still require proper care to remain happy and healthy like a pet would. This includes the right nutrition, regular health checkups, grooming, and mental care.

This article will provide service dog care that ensures your dog enjoys a long, fulfilling life. 

Ensuring Proper Nutrition and Weight Management

Weight management is an essential aspect of service dog care. Dogs that are overweight are at high risk for chronic diseases and arthritis. Excess weight may also interfere with their ability to help their owners. 

A service dog handler should consider using scientific service dog food vs. cost formulation products. Scientific products are made with higher-grade ingredients and they come from trusted sources. 

Many pet owners think they are spoiling their dogs by giving them human food. However, these foods can cause digestive issues and other problems. Even scraps off the table can be harmful. Avoid giving your dog food that is not recommended for canines. 

Regular Health Checks and Preventative Care

Regular health care is essential for assistance dogs. Owners should take their pets to the vet regularly because it helps prevent disease. Vets can also detect conditions early on to keep them from getting worse. 

Assistance dogs should receive vaccinations like any other dog would. Common dog vaccinations include distemper, Lyme disease, bordetella, and more. Doctors can also provide medication to treat and prevent fleas, ticks, and heartworms. 

A service dog handler should also learn to look for early signs of health issues in dogs. Lethargy, a lack of appetite, and odd behaviors may indicate something is wrong. If you notice these symptoms in your dog, take them to a vet immediately. 

Dental Health

Dental health is just as crucial for dogs as it is for humans. The right oral care will prevent gingivitis, bad breath, periodontal disease, and other issues. Owners must ensure their dog’s mouth is well cared for. 

Handlers can improve their dog’s dental health with regular brushings two to three times weekly. Feeding them dog dental treats and taking them to the vet for regular cleanings are also helpful in keeping your dog healthy. 

Physical Activity and Mental Stimulation

Physical activity and mental stimulation benefit service dog’s mental health and physical health. It keeps dogs in shape to prevent obesity and chronic health conditions and it also improves their mood. 

All types of play keep dogs physically and mentally stimulated. You can take your dog on a walk, throw around a ball or frisbee, or even just let them interact with other dogs at dog parks. 

Training for service dogs also provides mental and physical benefits. As they learn how to behave and perform certain tasks they will be active providing them with both mental and physical stimulation. 

Grooming and Hygiene

Assistance dogs must be properly groomed. Grooming is not just about making your dog look good as many grooming techniques also benefit their health. 

For example, brushing your dog’s coat distributes the natural oils in their fur and eliminates dead and dry skin. Bathing removes dirt and grime that can expose your dog to allergens, bacteria, and parasites. Nail care reduces the risk of infections and discomfort due to overgrown nails. All of these grooming practices can help to keep your service dog healthy in the long run. 

Owners can take a dog to a professional groomer or groom dogs at home. If you choose a professional groomer, ensure the groomer has a good reputation and a clean facility. If you groom at home, ensure your equipment is sanitary and functional. 

Training and Behavioral Health

Training is essential for assistance dogs. The right service dog training tips will ensure your dog maintains their exceptional behavior and sees to their owner’s needs. 

Most service dogs are trained professionally. However, you may also train your service dog yourself. You must ensure they are socialized, teach them to behave properly and familiarize them with your unique needs. 

Dogs may act out due to separation anxiety, depression, and other emotional issues. Owners may address separation anxiety by leaving their dogs with toys, and security blankets, or by playing soothing music. Establish a routine to make your dog feel comfortable.

Other behavioral issues, such as being aggressive, begging for attention, and urinating in the wrong areas can be discouraged with reward-based systems. 

Support and Resources

Owning a service dog is not always easy, but several resources offer service dog support. Here are some to check out. 

  • Guardian Angels: Guardian Angels rescues, raises, and trains service dogs. It raises awareness so the public understands the service-dog owner relationship. It educates owners on dog training and ensures dogs enjoy a high quality of life. 
  • New Life K9s: This organization provides service dogs for veterans and first responders with PTSD. They train service dogs and help veterans and first responders lead more independent, more fulfilling lives. 
  • ADA National Network: The ADA National Network provides owners with all the information they need to care for their service dogs. It covers the basics and provides information about traveling with a service animal, service animals in emergencies, living with a service animal, and so much more. 
  • Canine Companions: Canine Companions provides service dogs to adults, children, and veterans with disabilities. They offer training sessions throughout the country. They also host events that celebrate service dogs. 
  • Justice Speaks: Justice Speaks raises awareness about the service dog-owner relationship. We train school-age kids so they know how to act around service dogs as well as ensuring workplace compliance and promoting advocacy. 


Assistance dogs help their handlers maintain independence. They must be cared for properly to ensure they enjoy a high quality of life. This includes owners taking them for vet visits regularly, ensuring they eat nutritious food, caring for their grooming and mental health, and overseeing their training. 

Caring for a service dog can be challenging, but several organizations offer support. Justice-Speaks is here to help you handle your needs. We promote advocacy so handlers can learn about their rights and what they can do if they’re not respected.

Contact us for more information. We will help you along your service dog journey! 

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