Service dog eligibility information

*Before completing the Application Request Form, please review the following Program Admission Information to determine if you are qualified.*    

Who is eligible to apply to America's VetDogs? 

Men and women who are active military, veterans who have been honorably discharged, and first responders who are visually or hearing impaired or physically disabled.  Also eligible are professionals working with Military organizations that provide physical or mental health care to clients who will benefit from interaction with an Assistance Dog.  Our PTSD service dog program is limited to veterans with combat-related PTSD and first-responders with work-related PTSD who are currently in ongoing counseling and have been under the consistent care of a Mental Health Professional for a minimum of 1 year, prior to applying. Our Seizure Response Dog program is limited to veterans suffering from a minimum of one seizure a month.

For guide dog users, we accept residents of the United States who are age 16 and older and classified as legally or totally blind.  We also require that each student have the ability to independently travel using their current mobility device.  Applicants must also be physically able to work with a guide dog and also be able to care for their dog.   If an applicant has successfully completed O & M training within the past several years, we will request an O & M instructor's report.  Some exceptions to residency are considered on a case-by-case basis. 

What are the responsibilities of someone who receives an assistance dog from America's VetDogs?  

To begin, they must be able to attend a two-week residential training program.  They must be committed to maintaining the dog’s training throughout the duration of the team and to provide for the well-being of the dog (veterinary care, proper grooming, exercise, etc.; approximately $75 - $100 per month).   It is advisable to research yearly veterinary, grooming and feeding costs in your specific area prior to applying for an assistance dog.  America's VetDogs provides full training support and after-care by our Field Representatives for all of its graduate teams.    

What kind of assistance dogs does America’s VetDogs provide? 

  • Guide Dogs for those who are blind or visually impaired  
  • Service Dogs for people who are physically disabled
  • Service Dogs for PTSD for those whose primary disability is combat related.
  • Seizure Response Dogs  
  • Military Facility Dogs that accompany staff members who work in military hospitals, VA’s etc.

America’s VetDogs does not provide diabetic alert dogs, dogs that detect medical symptoms such as cancer, dogs that provide personal protection, or emotional support dogs.

What types of dogs are used?  

For the most part, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and crosses of the two breeds are utilized.  Some Standard Poodles are available for individuals with documented allergies.  All Guide Dog Foundation dogs pass specialized health and temperament screenings to be eligible for training. 

How old are the dogs when they are matched?  

Dogs are approximately 14 to 24 months old.  

What tasks are America's VetDogs trained to do? 

  • Guide Dogs help their partners safely navigate busy streets and intersections.   
  • Service Dogs pick up dropped items, retrieve items off high counter tops, open doors and turn light switches on and off.
  • Seizure Response Dogs are trained to respond appropriately when their partner is having a seizure and to allow others to approach. Specific tasks such as pushing an emergency button or rousing through licking may also be requested.   
  • Military Facility Dogs assist wounded veterans in their physical and emotional rehabilitation process. 
  • Service Dogs for PTSD are trained for tasks such as nightmare interruption to help mitigate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Can the America's VetDogs train a client’s own dog to be their assistance dog?

Unfortunately we can not.  America’s VetDogs only trains dogs that were breed through their extensive breeding program.  This assures that dogs accepted into the training program have the health, temperament and ability to be assistance dogs   

What if I have other pets in my home? 

The instructors will make a decision on a case by case basis regarding the other pets in the household. No other pets will be allowed if the instructor concludes that they will interfere with an assistance dog working.  

How long is the waiting list for an assistance dog?   

The waiting list is approximately six months to two years.  

How much does it cost?   

Although it costs over $50,000 to train and place an assistance dog, all of our services, including transportation and accommodations at our New York campus are provided at no cost to the student, thanks to the extraordinary generosity of public contributions.  

What types of team training do you provide? 

America's VetDogs offers a two-week residential training program at our campus is Smithtown, New York.

How do I apply for a dog?

The admission process starts when a prospective applicant fills out Part 1 of our application, which can be completed on our website.  If the applicant would prefer a hard copy of the application, it is available upon request.  If the prospective applicant has questions about our programs or would like more information about the assistance dog lifestyle, the Consumer Services Department is available by phone or email to answer any questions at 1-866-282-8047 or

Consumer Services reviews each application to see if the applicant meets America's VetDogs criteria for working with an assistance dog.  If they determine that a prospective applicant has met our criteria, and feel that an assistance dog is the right choice for them, Part 2 of the application is sent to the applicant.  Part 2 of the application includes medical reports for the clients medical professionals to complete, mental health report and HIPAA, if you are being seen by a Mental health Professional. We also require an applicant video (CD, DVD or a link to a video online), to give us a glimpse of their disability as well as the areas where they live and work.)

What happens once I complete and submit the application packet?

Once an individual completes the application packet, our team will review each application to determine if the applicant may be a good candidate for a guide or service dog.  After completion of the application materials, we will then contact the applicant to arrange an interview.  The interview will be scheduled either in-person, through video chat, or over the phone.  These interviews help us better understand the applicant’s needs—vital information for the matching process.  

Once accepted, formal notification will be given, and based on the materials submitted, our training staff will begin the matching process to find an appropriate dog within 6 to 24 months.  Once a dog is matched, the applicant will be contacted for an upcoming class.

I completed the application request form, but haven’t been contacted.  Why?  

Due to the large number of requests for specially trained assistance dogs, America's VetDogs will respond to your application request within 15 business days.   

If you have read and understood the admission program information, please click the "Apply Now" button below to fill out our Application Request Form.