A common question that I’ve been getting lately is about the types of doctors who can write a prescription or doctor’s note for a service dog. People aren’t sure who to ask for their prescription, though they really would like to get started on their journey with a service dog.
Which Doctors Can Give a Service Dog Prescription?
The answer to this is fairly simple. Any doctor that is treating your disability, who is legally licensed, can write you a doctor’s note for a service dog. Let’s go over what that means for different types of disabilities:
Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, OCD and other mental illnesses: This might be a family doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), licensed professional counselor (LPC), mental health counselor, certified alcohol and drug abuse counselor, nurse psychotherapist, vocational case manager or a marital and family therapist.
Seizures, mobility problems, MS, diabetes and other physical illnesses: This might be a family doctor, physical therapist, neurologist, endocrinologist, opthalmologist or other specialists, as well as the doctors listed for mental illnesses.
What Should the Prescription Say?
Your doctor’s service dog prescription needs to be specific to be accepted by landlords and airlines.
It will need to be on your doctor’s “letterhead.” This means it needs to give your doctor’s information.
The letterhead should have:
- The doctor’s name with any “attachments” (for example, Dr. John Smith, M.D. or Sarah Smith, LCSW)
- The clinic address
- The clinic phone number
The letter body should include:
- A date within the last year (Airlines require that it be dated within the last 12 months)
- A statement that you have a physical or mental disability.
- A statement that having the dog with you is necessary to your mental or physical health, or your treatment, or to assist you with your disability.
- That you are under the care of the person writing the note and that the person writing the note is a licensed medical professional. (This includes the doctor’s licensing information: the date it was issued, what state/jurisdiction it was given in and what license it is.)
Pretty simple! Use this template to create your own doctor’s note for a service dog for your next checkup and you should be all set.