Does a Federal Service Dog Registration Exist?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no official federal service dog registration. Furthermore, there is no legal need to "register" your service dog with any organization. As long as your service animal is trained and supports your disability, they are legally recognized as a service animal.


The Bottom Line:

  • Is there a federal service dog registration? - In short, no, there is no official federal service dog registry that you need to register your service dog with.
  • What is service dog registration? - Service dog registration is the (unnecessary) submission of your service dog's details to a database in return for an identification number or certificate of your service dog's status.
  • Do I need to register my service dog? - While many online organizations will recommend it, registration is a myth, you do not need it for your service dog.
  • How do I prove my dog is a service dog? - The only proof necessary is your dog's calm demeanor in public and your stating that the dog is trained to help you with your disability.

ADA Definition of a Service Dog

Under the ADA, service dogs are defined as follows:

"a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disabilityThe task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability."

Examples of disability tasks include things like:

  • Providing tactile stimulation for a handler having a panic attack 
  • Retrieving an object that has fallen on the floor for a handler in a wheelchair 
  • Helping a blind handler to navigate a road crossing
  • Reminding a handler to take their anxiety medication
  • Closing cabinets or doors 
  • Altering a deaf handler to the presence of someone at the door


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