Finding a doctor who will prescribe a service dog can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. No one wants to go to the doctor once, much less go to several doctors and wasting their time and money only to be told the doctor doesn’t prescribe service dogs.
More than once, I’ve had people tell me they can’t find a doctor who will prescribe service dog to them, and they’re left feeling hopeless.
When you have anxiety, it can be hard to even think about bringing up the idea of a service dog to your doctor, so if you’ve gotten up the courage and asked and gotten a “no” or they don’t understand, you can be left feeling completely lost. Where do you go? Maybe you should give up. What should you do?
Let’s talk about how to avoid this. What can you do to increase your chances of finding a doctor who will prescribe a service dog?
First, let’s talk about which doctors can prescribe service dogs.
Which Doctors Can Prescribe a Service Dog
The FHA law says this: .”…the housing provider may ask persons who
are seeking a reasonable accommodation for an assistance animal that provides emotional support to provide documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional that the animal provides emotional support that alleviates one or more of the
identified symptoms or effects of an existing disability. Such documentation is sufficient if it establishes that an individual has a disability and that the animal in question will provide some type of disability-related assistance or emotional support.”
Any doctor who is treating you for your disability can prescribe a service dog. Any doctor. At all.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of doctors who will prescribe a service dog:
- A general practitioner or primary care physician
- A psychiatrist
- A specialist
Even some non-doctors will prescribe service dogs:
- Case Worker
And more. Almost anyone who has a license to practice in your state and is treating your disability can prescribe a service dog.
How to Find a Doctor Who Will Prescribe a Service Dog
What if your the doctor you normally see won’t help you? I do recommend trying to educate your doctor on service dogs and the benefits of them, if possible, but if not, you may need to find a new doctor.
I’m not advocating doctor hopping, at all. However, sometimes there are real cases where doctors just aren’t willing to take the time to educate themselves on service dogs and so won’t prescribe them.
So what’s the best way to find a doctor who will prescribe a service dog for you?
My recommendations for finding a doctor who will prescribe a service dog are:
- Ask around on your local Facebook groups to see if anyone has a doctor who was willing to work with them on a service dog. Maybe a local yard sale or “news” Facebook group. Maybe a post like “I’m in need of a new doctor in the area. Does anyone have a doctor that is familiar with service dogs?” would be discrete enough, but still get you the information you need.
- Call around to different doctor’s offices and ask if their doctors are familiar with service dogs. Something as simple as “Hi, I’m looking for a new doctor, but I need a doctor that is familiar with service dogs. Are any of your doctors comfortable with service dogs?” will work.
- Ask your friends if they have doctors that are open to suggestions from patients. Sometimes you just need a more open-minded doctor that will listen to what you think will work for you. So you might ask “How do you like your doctor? Do you find that he listens to you and answers your questions? Have you ever asked them about a particular treatment and they listened to you?” This can help you find a doctor who will prescribe a service dog for you.
If You Still Can’t Find a Doctor Who Will Prescribe a Service Dog
If you still can’t find a doctor who will prescribe a service dog for you, don’t give up. It might take some time to find one. Doctors who will prescribe service dogs do exist, I promise.
Just remember, it is well worth the investment of your time to find a doctor who will prescribe a service dog for you. You won’t regret it.
What To Do Once You Find a Doctor Who Will Prescribe a Service Dog
Once you’ve found a doctor who will prescribe a service dog for you, they might need a little bit of help, especially if they haven’t done it before.
I recommend taking in a sample prescription for a service dog with you, so that your doctor has a template to look at.
You can get a free sample prescription for a service dog by signing up for my newsletter!