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How Much Are Service Dogs? Expensive or Not? [2023]

how much are service dogs
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How much are service dogs?

The cost of training and owning a service dog is not inexpensive, and the cost of the initial training alone can be up to $50,000 or more. The good news is, there are options for funding service dogs and their training, and there are organizations that can help to provide fully trained service dogs free of charge to the people who need them the most.

how much are service dogs in Canada and U.S.
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Multipurpose Service Dog “Eri” @eri_servicedog

What is the cheapest price for a service dog?

Technically speaking, people who use service dogs can train the dog themselves. So, it’s possible to obtain a dog from a breeder, a shelter, or somewhere else for a low cost, and then train the dog by yourself, without the help of a dog trainer. In that case, the cheapest cost of a service dog will be the costs associated with normal dog stuff, such as food, toys, equipment, and maybe the service dog harness. And of course, the time it takes you to train the dog, which is not exactly known as an easy task.

Are service dogs free in Canada?

Service dogs are never exactly free, but they are often provided free of charge (or very little cost) to the people who need them the most, by organizations that receive donations and other funding sources.

Let’s take a look at some Assistance Dogs International service dog organizations and their costs

How much are service dogs at America’s Vet Dogs

America’s Vet Dogs provides service dogs to veterans , active duty service members, or first responders.

According to America’s Vet Dogs, the yearly cost of simply maintaining a service dog might be approximately $1300, not including the cost of training the dog.

  • Food, toys, and grooming supplies cost approximately $600-$700 per year
  • Annual veterinary examinations and vet care as needed for unexpected health issues
  • It is recommended to plan an average of $600 per year for veterinary costs, although this will vary from year to year

How much are Service Dogs at America’s Vet Dogs?

All services are provided at no cost to clients. This includes your service dog, transportation to and from the campus in Smithtown , New York, instruction, and more.

America’s Vet Dogs

How much are service dogs at Canine Companions?

Canine Companions serves the following people:

  • Adults with physical or auditory disabilities 
  • Children with physical or cognitive disabilities aged five or older or adults with physical or cognitive disabilities who require the assistance of a facilitator such as a parent, caregiver or spouse
  • Veterans with a physical or auditory disability or post-traumatic stress disorder* (PTSD)
  • Professionals working in a health care, visitation, criminal justice, or education setting

Is there a fee to receive a service dog from Canine Companions?

Canine Companions service dogs and all follow-up services are provided free of charge to the recipient. Students are responsible for their transportation to and from the regional training center.

Once matched with a dog, graduates of the program are responsible for costs associated with the care of the service dog including food, grooming, and routine veterinary expenses.

Canine Partners for Life

Canine Partners for Life is a non-profit organization dedicated to training:

  • Service dogs
  • Home companion dogs
  • Residential companion dogs
  • To assist individuals who have a wide range of physical and cognitive disabilities

How much are service dogs at Canines for Service?

Canines for Service does not charge or require fundraising for the Veteran client for their service dog.

Canines for Service

How much are service dogs at Dogs for Better Lives?

  • There is no charge to receive an Autism Assistance Dog
  • There is a requested donation or fee required to receive a Career Change Dog
  • There is no charge to receive a Hearing Dog
  • There is no charge to receive a Facility Dog

Dogs for Better Lives are totally funded by donations from individuals, service clubs, groups, and certain businesses and corporations. They also encourage individuals to include Dogs for Better Lives in their estate planning. They do not receive any government funding.

Dogs for Better Lives

Duo Dogs

  • Duo Dogs does not charge for an Assistance Dog
  • There is a $100 application fee, plus an equipment fee of approximately $400-$900, depending on the equipment needed
  • This is due when the client receives the dog

K9s for Warriors

K9s for Warriors is a nonprofit organization. With a generous community of supporters, K9s For Warriors matches Warriors with a Service Dog and hosts the pair at one of their campuses for a 21-day program at no cost to the Warrior.

The program includes on-campus and off-site training, bonding time in their welcoming housing, and useful classes. It prepares the pair to pass a public access test, earning ADI certification that the dog is the handler’s Service Dog.

K9s for Warriors

Mutts with a Mission

It costs approximately $60,000 to fully train one service dog. However, Mutts With A Mission places Service Dogs at no cost to the recipient (Just a non-refundable application fee of $50).

Otherwise, there is no charge for the training.

Once graduated, the service dog handler will incur the costs of:

  • Food
  • Treats
  • Leashes
  • Veterinary care
  • The cost of traveling back to their facility for yearly recertification

Mutts with a Mission

Why are service dogs so expensive?

Service dogs are highly trained animals , and much more training goes into them compared to regular dogs. In fact, training a service dog from a puppy to complete training can take on average about two years. This extensive training often begins as a puppy, when specially trained puppy-raisers begin the socialization process. Additional amounts go toward adoption costs, puppy vaccinations, spaying or neutering, microchipping, food, and trainer fees.

The bottom line

Service dogs aren’t cheap, but they might be provided free of charge by certain organizations to the people who need them the most. Of course, there are many other options for organizations that will charge for a trained service dog. There are other options, such as fundraising, too, that might be a possible option for someone looking to obtain a service dog .

The other thing to remember is that the service dog will likely be with you for up to ten years or longer, and the costs associated with having a dog will always be there. These are things like food, toys, equipment, veterinary care, and any other unexpected costs that may come up in life.

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