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Question: Can Service Dogs Be Carried?

Wondering if service dogs can be carried? Technically speaking, service dogs can be carried, and this might be appropriate for certain disabilities, and especially when the service dog is small. Any breed of dog may be used as a service dog , even small breeds. But people carrying service dogs might be judged by others, sometimes harshly.

People carrying service dogs may be worried about being judged because there are a lot of “fake service dogs” nowadays that tend to be carried. Some people seem to firmly believe in a “four on the floor” policy. However, the thing about the Americans with Disabilities Act is that the service dog handler may determine for themselves what works best for them, their situation, and their dog.


“Q31. Are stores required to allow service animals to be placed in a shopping cart?

A. Generally, the dog must stay on the floor, or the person must carry the dog. For example, if a person with diabetes has a glucose alert dog, he may carry the dog in a chest pack so it can be close to his face to allow the dog to smell his breath to alert him of a change in glucose levels.”

Americans with Disabilities Act FAQ
can service dogs be carried
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American Cocker Spaniel Service Dog @bartek_spaniel_wspanialy

Why would a legitimate service dog be placed in a stroller?

There are several reasons why a legitimate service dog may be placed in a stroller. Additionally, many service dogs who are in strollers, chest packs, bags, etc., are all taught how to do their job perfectly fine from that location.

  • If it’s too hot or crowded, the stroller, chest pack or bag, can be used to keep the dog from being injured by hot pavement, or from other people potentially stepping on the animal, or accidentally even kicking the animal because they didn’t see it
  • Strollers are also frequently used for young service dogs in training. This can help to prevent injuries to the dog and still allows for socialization and desensitizing
  • It tends to prevent or deter people from petting service dogs (service dogs should never be pet to avoid distracting them)
  • Some people who have a service dog may have injuries that do not allow for them to carry even a small dog – such as a back injury or another physical injury- so a stroller may be more appropriate
  • Some dog breeds overheat easily, especially in warm environments (or summer)

Service dog patches on strollers

Some people may put SD (service dog) vest patches on the service dog’s stroller to help keep people from trying to interact with the animal. Many people are not aware of service dogs and service dog laws and it can be frustrating for the people who really need the dog to focus. To learn more about the Americans with Disabilities Act federal service dog laws on public access rights, check out our article.

Can service dogs be carried? Not all small service dogs need to be carried

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Someone may have a small service dog, such as an eight pound chi mix or Pomeranian (Pomeranians often make great service dogs because they are highly intelligent and intuitive.) The dog may not be carried, and people often may not see the dog because she is so small.

But the service dog can learn to get out of the way of shopping carts, people, and other obstacles. Another reason that someone may want to carry a small service dog is to keep her out of the rain. In that case, such a small dog may be held somewhere such as in the pack under a raincoat.

The bottom line – Can service dogs be carried?

You can absolutely carry your service dog if you need. This can be close to your body, in a carrier, or stroller. Amazon has some great options for these kinds of things. You can add service dog or service dog-in-training patches and identification to your stroller, carrier, or equipment to help set a necessary boundary.

People can be really rude and judgemental. Try not to let potential interactions or comment discourage you. In the end you need to do what’s best for you and your service animal.

The following may be affiliate links used to support this website.

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HPZ Pet Rover XL Extra-Long Premium Heavy Duty Dog/Cat/Pet Stroller Travel Carriage 
service dog patches
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Service Dog Patches
pet carrier for service dog
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Pawaboo Pet Carrier Backpack


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Sam is an experienced writer, advocate for people with disabilities and mental health, dog lover, artist, philosopher, and generally complicated human being.

Can Service Dogs Be Carried?

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