There needs to be more regulation for service dogs

Katherine Anderson, Features Editor

A service dog is a dog that has been trained to perform tasks for an individual with a disability or a mental illness. These dogs are trained to help individuals by performing tasks such as guiding them, alerting them of medical dangers, and providing physical support. Basically, a service dog’s end job is to help their handler meet the needs of everyday life despite living with a seemingly disabling illness, injury, or mental struggle.

There are many different types of disabilities that can be helped by a service animal. Some common examples include; visual impairment like blindness or low vision, deafness or hearing loss, and mobility impairments such as injuries.

As an avid traveler, I frequently visit airports. And as a dog mom, I love furry friends, especially when I am away from my own, which means seeing dogs in airports is a joy to my travels. Although as of recently, the amount of dogs I’ve seen in airports that are labeled as ‘service dogs’ have risen tremendously. This peaked my interest and moved me to look into just how a service dog comes to be. 

According to, in order for a person to handle a service dog, they need to  “have a physical, emotional or mental disability, the dog must be well mannered at all times, and be trained to perform specific tasks that aid in a disability.” These are all reasonable requirements, although in many cases I have personally seen dogs not acting as a service dog should, peeing in stores, barking at other dogs and people. 

Despite this though, service dogs are increasingly being accepted into stores without checking certifications or even having a basis on how to check that dogs really are a service dog, and not just a normal domestic dog that has a reflective jacket with the words ‘service dog’ slapped onto it. 

This needs to be addressed, the way dogs are certified as service dogs, as well as how dogs are confirmed to be service dogs has to be regulated. It is not fair for real service dogs, as well as their owners, to have the service dog names tainted by fake service dogs with people who simply can not leave their dogs at home.