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Keep Working Dogs in Business with Insurance for Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs are working animals, but the job they perform involves much more than task completion. Dogs who have completed obedience training and have been tested for appropriate temperament may continue onward, with their handler, to be trained to provide therapy services. Therapy dogs travel, with their handler, outside of their home to provide service in various facilities including but not limited to hospitals, nursing homes, schools, daycare, rehabilitation centers, and offices. Dogs are affectionate creatures, and highly trained therapy dogs offer psychological or physiological intervention to individuals who are striving to overcome difficult physical, medical, and emotional situations.

Therapy Dog vs Service Dog

Observing dogs in public places is all too familiar as establishments become more pet-friendly. Sometimes it is difficult to determine whether dogs are pets or whether they are providing therapy or service to individuals in need. Often, dogs providing therapy or service are designated by visible gear such as a vest or walking harness. It is important to note the distinction between therapy dogs and service dogs, as each receives specific training and each interacts differently with the individuals, not handlers, whom they are providing a service.

Therapy Dogs

These working dogs are trained by their owners and typically provide service on a volunteer basis. Therapy dogs are expected to not

be easily startled, should be commanded by voice, should not eat dropped food or beg for food, and should be well adapted to working with a variety of people in situations where petting is highly encouraged. Dogs providing therapy are not granted access to establishments such as service dogs are granted access via the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Service Dogs

These working dogs are trained by professionals and taught to provide assistance to persons with disabilities. Persons assisted by a service dog must be accompanied by the dog in a variety of public places, therefore, service dog access is enforced by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Service dogs assist individuals to achieve safety and independence, typically by providing mobility assistance. Petting of service dogs is not encouraged.

Standardized Recognition

Handlers typically register therapy dogs with national organizations which provide the handlers ongoing support such as promotional materials, regional club listings, and community resources. Dogs receive immediate recognition as members of a standardized organization. National therapy dog organizations require an annual fee which, depending on the organization, may include liability insurance.

Commercial Insurance

Although therapy dogs are registered with standardized, national organizations the liability insurance accompanying this privilege only covers dogs and handlers who provide volunteer services. Many handlers access facilities who welcome therapy dogs. These facilities typically maintain insurance policies to cover the facility’s own liability needs for allowing dogs on premises. However, if a handler provides a therapy dog for commercial use neither the facility nor the handler may be prepared with appropriate liability insurance. If you are a handler considering the use of therapy dogs as a business opportunity, or a handler providing therapy dog services through an organization, you should rest assured that you and your dogs are properly insured.

XINSURANCE offers a customizable, commercial therapy dog insurance policies to cover any breed regardless of experience. You can rest assured with a commercial therapy dog insurance policy that you will have protection from claims against you and your dog. Your therapy dog has been highly trained, your dog has been vaccinated, and you provide ongoing veterinary care to guarantee your dog’s good health. However, you and your dog frequently encounter situations within proximity to people and occasionally proximity to other dogs; these situations are variable, and in the event of an unforeseen emergency an insurance policy will give you peace of mind that you will be protected from claims against you or your dog.