top of page

The Differences Between Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs

Dogs are not only an excellent pet to care for and build a connection with, but they’re also capable of providing amazing services to people in need. There are a wide variety of conditions and disabilities that dogs can help people with. The usages and functions of dogs can differ depending on whether they’re being used for therapy or service. The following are some of the main differences between therapy dogs and service dogs.

Service Dogs

Service dogs are highly trained to perform specific tasks for people that are affected by a disability. There are many roles that a service dog can fill, and an example of common use for service dogs is to help guide people that are blind. There are many places such as airplanes and restaurants where dogs are not typically permitted to enter. Service dogs however are granted special access privileges in these places. They provide an incredibly valuable service to people that would otherwise struggle to perform their daily tasks. There is also a no petting policy for service dogs in order to prevent them from becoming distracted from their tasks.

Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs differ from service dogs in what they’re used for and their access privileges. They’re typically dogs that visit schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and several other locations with their owners. This is a valuable service for people that are comforted by the presence of a dog. Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs are not protected by federal laws. This means that they’re unable to enter places such as airplanes and restaurants in the same way that service dogs. The right to visit must be granted by the individual facility on a case by case basis. Therapy dogs can provide psychological benefits for people that are suffering from depression, anxiety, autism, or stress.


bottom of page