Psychiatric service dogs (PSD) are necessary companions for many individuals, and there are several important benefits to traveling with your PSD. For many people, having their psychiatric service dog at their side allows them to travel with easy access to the support they need for relief of certain symptoms.
Here are a few benefits of having a psychiatric service dog with you while traveling.
What Is a Psychiatric Service Dog?
A psychiatric service dog is a type of service dog that is trained specifically to help individuals with psychiatric disabilities or mental health conditions, such as PTSD, OCD, anxiety, or depression.
These dogs can be trained by their owner or with a professional trainer to complete a variety of tasks for their owners, such as bringing medication and water, reminding their owners of a routine, opening and closing doors, protecting their owner’s back in public, calming down panic attacks, and guiding their owners to safe or quiet spaces.
For many individuals, their psychiatric service dog is essential to going about their day as smoothly as possible. When it comes to traveling, your PSD can continue their work for you as you travel so that you don’t need to worry about dealing with the symptoms of your disability alone.
Benefits of Traveling With Your Psychiatric Service Dog
There are a few different benefits to traveling with your PSD. We list the most important benefits of traveling with a psychiatric service dog below.
Symptom Relief While You Travel
One of the biggest benefits of traveling with your psychiatric service dog is having access to the benefits that your PSD brings for the duration of your travel. Psychiatric service dogs are granted federally protected access rights like other service animals, and you will be able to have them with you in nearly any hotel, airplane, or business that you need to visit while traveling.
This allows you the equal opportunity to make the most of your travel without worrying about symptom relief or maintaining your daily routine with the help of your PSD.
Air Cabin Travel Benefits
Air cabin travel benefits are what most people think of when it comes to traveling with a service animal. The Air Carrier Access Act allows individuals with service dogs, such as psychiatric service dogs, to bring their animals into the cabin with them.
It’s essential if you are planning air travel with your PSD that you fill out the proper forms and check any customs requirements for the areas you are traveling to ahead of time to ensure that your psychiatric service dog doesn’t need to leave your side.
Register your service animal for easy traveling
Register your service animal, emotional support animal, or apply for a letter from a licensed mental health professional for housing with US Service Animals.
– Registration is valid for the lifetime of your animal.
– Your service animal or emotional support animal will be placed in the official US Service and Support Animal Registry Database.
– Get access to their legal team.
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Register your pet now.
No Pet Fees or Pet Restrictions
A notable federally protected access right for individuals with service animals is not having to pay pet fees or adhere to specific pet restrictions while traveling. This means that an airline cannot charge you for having your PSD in the cabin, nor will you be required to pay hotel fees if you stay with your psychiatric service dog.
Keep in mind, though, that if your PSD damages any property you are staying in, it can still be legal to hold you financially responsible for any associated fees.
What May I Be Asked About My PSD?
You may be asked specific questions about your dog when you bring your psychiatric service dog with you during your travel. Only two questions are allowable under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA):
- Is this dog a service animal?
- What tasks or services is this animal trained to perform?
You do not need to elaborate about your psychiatric service dog, and you are not required to show proof in the form of paperwork, IDS, registrations, or asking your dog to perform certain tasks. Any individual asking these things of you is in violation of the ADA.
How Do I Prepare My PSD for Traveling?
Preparing your psychiatric service dog for travel is essential, as you want your dog to be comfortable while they accompany you wherever you need to go. If you are planning to take a flight with your PSD, you should allow your dog to use the bathroom ahead of time and give them some exercise to expend any energy.
Once your dog is in working mode, make sure they are totally focused on you. Be certain to listen to any airport or public transport officials for directions on how to bring your dog with you every step of the way.
Related read: Top Tips for Traveling With Your Dog
Can My PSD Be Turned Away When Traveling?
Your psychiatric service dog may be turned away in limited circumstances. Typically, only when your dog is out of control, destructive, or dangerous will they not be allowed to travel with you.
It’s important to ensure that your PSD is fully trained and ready to accompany you for travel so that you avoid any potentially negative encounters.
Benefiting From Travel With Your Service Animal
Traveling with your psychiatric service dog has many benefits, including no pet fees or restrictions, and symptom relief while you travel.
If you know that you want to bring your PSD during your next vacation or business trip, ensure that they are properly prepared for the task and that you meet any pre-travel requirements with airlines, hotels, or other forms of transportation.