Wondering about a Service Dog for Anemia?
Let’s talk about the possibility of getting a service dog for anemia. Anemia is a condition in which someone doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells. These are to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues.
Having anemia, also referred to as low hemoglobin, can make a person feel tired and weak. Yes, you can possibly get a service dog for anemia. You may want to consider a few things first.
Considering that training a service dog is time-consuming and usually not cheap, getting one for anemia may not be the logical first option to think about if you do live with this condition. It is often times a temporary condition. However, it could very well be an option for some people.
Anemia can be a temporary condition or long term problem. It can range from mild all the way to severe. In most cases, it has more than one cause.
Sometimes it can happen simply from being pregnant, or not getting enough iron in the diet, especially those who are vegan or vegetarian as meat is a typical way for people to get enough iron.
But other times it’s a more serious medical condition that can’t simply be solved by popping an iron supplement and eating enough spinach.
It’s important to understand that speaking with a medical professional could possibly help to find viable solutions to resolve the issue more efficiently than turning towards training a service dog.
Signs and symptoms of anemia may include:
- Pale skin
- Yellowish skin
- Irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Cold hands
- Cold feet
Some possible causes & risk factors for anemia
- Diet lacking in certain vitamins and minerals, sometimes this happens to people when they decide to become vegan
- A diet always low in iron, vitamin B-12, folate and copper
- Intestinal disorders
- Chronic conditions
- Family history
- Age (65+ more at risk)
- Something else…
Questions to Ask Yourself
…When considering a service dog for anemia
The thing about having a service dog is the dog needs to be able to do a particular work or “task” that is directly related to your disability.
So, in order to figure out if a service dog would be able to help your particular issues, consider what the dog might be able to do for you and your unique situation. The scope of tasks that service dogs can do is almost unlimited.
- What symptoms of anemia are debilitating for me?
- Is this disabling or not?
- Do I often pass out?
- Are there times that I get extremely weak?
- Do I get dizzy and collapse?
Consider if traditional treatment is an option
While a service dog may be able to help with anemia, first consider whether traditional (or other alternative) treatments may be able to help you.
Anemia can become disabling if it’s extremely severe. However, in a lot of cases, it can be treated effectively without a service animal.
What tasks can a service dog do for anemia?
If your anemia causes you to get severely dizzy and become disoriented, it might be helpful for a service dog to be able to guide you to a safe place where you can sit or lie down to recover.
Fatigue and weakness
If your anemia causes severe fatigue and/or weakness, to the point where you are unable to get out of bed, a service dog may be able to assist by retrieving things such as medications, drinks, etc.
Circulation issues & DPT service dogs
For someone who passes out and may feel dizzy, service dogs can be trained to do DPT (Deep Pressure Therapy) on the legs, for example, to help encourage the blood to get moving again.
A DPT Service Dog uses a technique called Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT) or Deep Pressure Stimulation (DPS) in order to help people transition from a stressed state to a more relaxed one, among for other reasons.
The effects are similar to a weighted blanket, and the pressure from this DPT can help to relax a person, among other benefits, of course.
Talk to your doctor about your anemia
- Diet changes and supplements can have a big effect on anemia, and this may be a quicker and easier solution compared to training a service dog
- Speak with your doctor to see if there are other treatment methods; sometimes there are options that you may not be aware of
- Discuss whether your anemia causes you to be disabled. Service dogs are for people who have a disability, and the ADA definition of disability is a legal one, not a medical one
- If it does, ask yourself where your anemia interferes with your ability to function, or be safe or independent
- Start there to see if there are tasks that a service dog could potentially perform that might be able to help you
A service dog for anemia is certainly possible. It’s worthwhile to conduct a thorough investigation into your health to make sure that there aren’t some possibly more efficient options for recovery.
Sometimes, second opinions are required from multiple health professionals in order to truly uncover the depths – and expose all the details of – your condition.
Training a service dog is not a quick or easy task, and it can be more difficult if your current issues are zapping your energy or making you feel like fainting.
Is anemia really a disability for you? If so, think about the most disabling qualities of the disability and how a service dog could possibly help.
What would the dog actually need to do in order to help improve your condition? Service dogs can be taught a wide range of tasks. But if the task is not related to the disability, it’s not going to work. Hopefully those living with this condition can find the solutions necessary in order to feel better and be able to enjoy life.
- ADA Service Dog Laws, General FAQ for Public Access Rights
- Service Dog Laws By State
- Service Dogs in Training (SDiT) Laws By State