A service dog can make life with disabilities even more manageable. But the costs will easily add up between choosing the best dog and teaching it. Fortunately, there is a range of grants and support opportunities that could aid.
The service dog normally costs up to $30,000 to take and train, according to the Service Dog Certifications. Although it depends on the training it gets and the breed of dog you have picked. In certain cases, a support dog can be much more expensive.
After you have a service animal, you will still have to consider annual costs such as vet checks, meals, and grooming.
Options to cover expenses for a service dog
If you’re looking to buy a service dog, here are five financing options to consider:
Consider service dog grants, as there is a variety of types of grants, from Assistance Dog United Campaign to Planet Dog Foundation, that help people with disabilities find service dogs at little to no expense.
You could also use a flexible spending account (FSA) attached to an insurance policy to get a service dog after you receive a letter (LMN) from your doctor. It helps you to use your paycheck before taxes, making it cheaper than spending out of your wallet.
Everyone heard of fundraising campaigns on sites like GoFundMe, but in this case, it’s also a great option to raise money for your service dog.
To start saving now is another one, not necessarily the simplest method, especially if you have little cash flow. But extra savings will make it easier to purchase and care for a service dog.
Once you’ve exhausted your other options, you may want to consider a personal loan.
How long does it take to get a service dog?
It could take 1-2 years to train a service dog if you decide to adopt and train yourself. But if you need a service dog now, you can adopt one that has already been trained. This might cost you more upfront, but you’ll only have to account for the time it takes to adopt and finance your service dog.
But don’t underestimate the application process can also be intensive. Filling out the initial application might take a few minutes or a few hours. But reputable organizations will often conduct several rounds of interviews before allowing you to adopt.
How to pay for pet care
In addition to the normal costs of maintaining a dog, there may be times when your companion will need additional medical care. There are a few ways you can get assistance.
Pet insurance. There are pet insurance policies available for your dog in case of illness or injury. Many plans cover service dogs, and there are multiple insurers with premiums that fit various budgets.
Health savings accounts. Because your assistance dog is performing a medically-required service, its medical bills can be covered by your health savings account (HSA).
Nonprofit funding. Some nonprofits can also help if you find yourself unable to pay for vet bills.
VA benefits. You can apply to have your service dog’s veterinary care and prescription medication subsidized by the VA.