Pet Guide 2023: Defining Service, Support and Therapy Animals

It’s easy to get confused about the difference between service, support and therapy animals. The American Veterinary Medical Association breaks it down for us.

Service Animals Petguide23


Service Animals

Primarily dogs and miniature horses, these animals are trained to help disabled handlers perform specific tasks. They don’t have to be licensed or certified, but they can accompany their owners wherever they can be accommodated, including in housing and in air travel.

Supportanimals Petguide23

Support Animals

Any species qualifies per a doctor’s written recommendation to offer support to someone with an emotional disorder. They can accompany owners outside their homes if reasonable, but they may not qualify for air travel. Sorry, peacocks!

Therapy Animals Petguide23

Therapy Animals

Any species of animal can be trained and used by the owner to provide comfort and support to others. These animals are typically certified or registered, and business owners can determine if they’re permitted on the premises. 

And then there are pets.

A pet is just a pet and can provide a lot of the support anyway,” says Human Animal Bond Research Institute President Steven Feldman.

Categories: Lifestyle, Pets & Animals