Veterinary Emergency Clinic

To Pet or Not to Pet

The Difference Between Service and Therapy Animals

When out and about, dog lovers know it is hard not to run up to every dog they see for a little bit of puppy love. Even seeing a dog sometimes can make your day 100 times better. Today there seems to be a lot of talk about service animals and therapy animals like they are the same thing. There are actually a lot of differences in what these two types of working dogs do!

Service Animals

A service animal is an animal trained to do tasks that help their owner with their disability. As a team, the service animal and their owner work toward independence. The most common service animal we see on a day to day basis would be a dog. These service dogs are allowed to go anywhere their owner can go- restaurants, public shopping centers, and hotels! It is very important not to approach and pet a service dog while they are working! This kind of attention can distract the dog from their job, making an unsafe environment for their owner! Most service animals will be wearing a uniform, like a vest or special scarf letting you know that they are working!

Therapy Animals

A therapy animal is the other type of working animal. These pets also receive extensive training, but these animals are around to provide psychological or physiological therapy for their owner, or other humans. These animals can be found at hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers, or college campus’. Therapy animals are mostly dogs, but cats and other domestic animals can be trained too! A therapy dog may be wearing a special harness or marker when they are working. Unlike service dogs, therapy dogs are supposed to be touched and played with! But, as always, ask before you pet!

Veterinary Emergency Clinic is there for you with any of your pet questions. We consistently aim to be WNY’s choice for emergency medical care for pets. If you ever need anything for your animal, please don’t hesitate to call us immediately at 716-427-5114. As your trusted WNY Emergency Vet, we can answer any questions you have and provide you with an immediate appointment if you need emergency care.



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