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Service Dogs

A service dog is an animal that has been extensively trained to do a specific job to assist a person with a disability. When these dogs pass the Public Access Test, they are certified through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a certified service animal and will then be able to accompany their owners in public spaces to assist as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is important to note that there are differences between a seizure alert dog and a seizure response dog.

A seizure alert dog is a type of certified service dog that is trained to alert their owner that a seizure is about to happen. The animal is then able to find help or assist its owner during and/or after a seizure. Recent studies show that some dogs can detect a seizure “odor” (chemical body change) prior to and during a seizure, and this “odor” is what the dogs are reacting to.

A seizure response dog is dog trained to instead respond to a seizure and perform tasks such as:

  • Staying close to its owner during a seizure to prevent injuries
  • Helping a person gently to the ground
  • Alerting a family member or emergency response system that a seizure has happened
  • Fetching a telephone or activating an alert device
  • Opening a door or turning on a light

It has been observed by some families that their current family dog may already exhibit some seizure alerting or responding behaviors with no formal training. However, this does not qualify them under the Americans with Diabilities Act (ADA) to be certified as a medical assist animal in public. It is important to note that if your seizure dog is not completely trained, the animal may misinterpret signals or respond to a seizure differently than expected. It is also important to make sure your family’s lifestyle and environment can support the addition to an animal into the family.

It is important to research agencies carefully on their method of training (alert vs. response). Here are some agencies to get your search underway:

**Please note, this is not an exhaustive list of support agencies.