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Apr 7

Is a Service Dog Right for You?

Have you been thinking that a service dog may be of use to you in your everyday life with Parkinson’s? Or are you not sure? And if you do want one, how do you go about getting one?

Service dogs can be quite helpful for people with Parkinson’s disease in many ways. One of the most important is animal companionship has long been shown to help lessen and combat depression, which is a very common sympotom of Parkinson’s. Dogs can also improve gait by maintaining a steady walking pace, and can be trained to bring a person out of a freeze. Additionally, dogs require regular exercise, forcing a person with Parkinson’s to have to get out of the house.

Making the decision to look into having a service dog is not an easy one. The benefits are many, but there are some things to consider. There are expenses associated with service dogs, including the training and upkeep (food, vaccinations, regular veterinary care, etc.) Additional training may be needed as your symptoms change. You will need to dedicate some of your time to the training of the dog, daily exercise, feeding and grooming.

If you’ve decided a service dog is right for you, getting one can prove a little difficult. The good news is there are many dog breeds that are suitable as a service dog for a person with Parkinson’s. In some cases, your own well behaved and easily trainable dog may be right for training as your service dog. To assist you in the process, the Parkinson’s Association of San Diego is compiling a list of local trainers who can assist in the process.

To find out more about service dogs for Parkinson’s disease, be sure to stop by the Paws for Parkinson’s Pet Festival at this year’s Walk on Saturday, April 16th. For more information, visit www.parkinsonswalksd.com