How do I find if I am eligible for a service dog through the Veterans Affairs?

How do I find if I am eligible for a service dog through the Veterans Affairs?

Each Veteran’s case is reviewed and evaluated by a prescribing clinician for the following:

  • Ability and means, including family or caregiver, to care for the dog currently and in the future
  • Goals that are to accomplished through the use of the dog
  • Goals that are to be accomplished through other assistive technology or therapy

The Veteran will be informed of an approval or disapproval of their service dog request. Veterans approved for service dogs are referred to Assistance Dogs International-accredited agencies. There is no charge for the dog or the associated training.

To receive any type of medical service through VA, you must register at the Health Administration/enrollment section of a VA Medical Center or online at: Once registered, a referral to a specialist may be requested through the assigned VA primary care provider. The Veteran’s VA medical team will perform a complete clinical evaluation to determine how best to assist the Veteran.  Each guide and service dog request is reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

VA and service dogs

Research is underway to better understand if dogs can provide a disability service for persons with PTSD. VA has started a research study to determine if there are things a dog can do for a Veteran with PTSD that would qualify the animal as a Service Dog for PTSD. The study is expected to take several years to complete. The National Center for PTSD is not involved in this study, but we will provide results when they become available.

Currently, VA does not provide service dogs for physical or mental health conditions, including PTSD. VA does provide veterinary care for service dogs that are deemed medically necessary for the rehabilitation or restorative care plan of Veterans with permanent physical impairments. If research supports the use of service dogs for PTSD, VA will provide veterinary care for such dogs. Read more information on VA and service dogs.



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