Service Dogs For Asthma/Anxiety/Allergies?

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

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Born to eat and- look at you- funny
Barked: Thu Sep 2, '10 6:08pm PST 
Ok I seriously have the feeling I have posted something like this before in this forum but there are too many posts for my to search through to find and I believe for the most part that there is probably so updated information by now.

So anyway, my questions is basically whats in the tittle?

I have what is considered pro-fatal asthma (which is new to me) After a visit a late last year I was told that I was most likely to die from asthma then anything else. That's a very scary thought for me being that literally a week after that visit I was rushed to the hospital and put on life support. Since my release from the hospital I have not been as strong as I was before. Physically, mentally or emotionally and what sucks is that each of them tie into my asthma. I have really bad anxiety once my asthma sneaks up and it usually is so crippling that I immediately fall, can't move or pass out. Now I do keep my rescue inhaler on me but its usually in a bag of something(has a big spacer) I keep tylenols and sometimes cold/allergy medicine in the bag too since it works as a sedative and can calm me down. I usually also keep my phone on my person but when I start leaning over or curling up my phone typically drops away from me out of reach.

I've researched all I can could find about the asthma/anxiety dogs and have not found much so I thought maybe a few of you guys may have more insight then whats available on the web.

I have spoken to many people about my asthma, countless doctors and they can't seem to be able to put a pin point on what causes surprise attacks.I believe it may be a smell that is not exactly noticeable or something like that. But then again I have surprise attacks in my sleep as well.

I havent had this conversation with my doctor just yet because I want to know if I actually have a case. And if I do is training an actual possibility?

To cast out one thing it was determined early on that I do not have a reaction to animals, thankfully, though I had to find this out after my dad made me give up my other dogs.

Help please?

I only eat- cereal- killers...
Barked: Thu Sep 2, '10 6:35pm PST 
While you are looking into weather or not a service dog would be the right thing for you, have you considered getting a life alert system?

Super Silver- Service Spoodle
Barked: Thu Sep 2, '10 7:06pm PST 
My husband has Multiple Chemical Sensitivites and we strongly considered getting him a service dog. In the end he decided against it because he didn't want the service dog lifestyle-- people staring at you, asking intrusive questions about your disability, etc.

A SD can definitely be trained to alert you to scents or triggers for your asthma. They can also be trained to assist with your anxiety. You can put an "open in emergency" pouch on your dog with emergency information and your rescue inhaler etc so people can help you faster when you pass out etc. You can even train your dog to seek out people to help you. I'd recommend talking with your doctors, others who use SDs, and your friends and family to think about how a SD would assist you. Think about the pros and cons of having a SD. For me, the pros are worth it.

Then you'll want to think about how you want to go about it-- if you want to train your own dog or get one that is already trained. I'd recommend joining some SD groups to talk with others about the pros and cons of these different ways. The Psychiatric Service Dog Society www.psychdog.org has a listserv that might be able to help you in addition to this forum, for example.


Born to eat and- look at you- funny
Barked: Thu Sep 2, '10 11:11pm PST 
Dexter I never considered life alert as option mainly because I thought it was for well.... senior citizensshrug The reason I was looking at a SD was because when I have a sudden attack and I'm alone my anxiety builds up. If I have one around my dogs I tend to be able calm myself down just enough to be able to call for help or wiggle my way over to my inhaler.They give a sense of security.

Olli, I have researched the pros and cons and the lifestyle that I would have to adapt. I'm kind of numb to the whole intrusive questions thing now since I have to tell people straight up about my asthma and anxiety problems. I do worry about the costs of such things like this and cost of maintenance (training and the like). Im currently a student in college and work as a dog bather for Petsmart (pays very little). It seems as if I go into this lifestyle I am pretty considered disabled permanently (which is the case right now anyway but everybody will know it). I hope I'm not talking in circles. I think an SD will be my best bet compared to being homebound and or hooked up to a machine constantly.

Born to eat and- look at you- funny
Barked: Tue Sep 7, '10 11:45am PST 
Bump for more assistance?

bunnies - YAY!!!
Barked: Tue Sep 7, '10 2:45pm PST 
i know there are dogs trained to help w/ peanut allergies but i've never heard of one for asthma. however, as long as you are considered disabled (which it sounds like you are) it should be possible. i would think that a dog could potentially be able to alert to an asthma attack since there is a definite change in your body. it would take some work on your part to figure out exactly what you would need the dog to do. i'd probably start w/ a 2 column list - one side for what you can't do for yourself & the other for how the dog could help you with that. for example, you have an asthma attack in an aisle in a store with no one around - the dog could either go find help & bring them to you (like someone said have an in case of emergency pouch on the dog) or have the dog bark to attract attention. the barking may not be your best bet as it could be misinterpreted as the dog being disruptive, but if it is a way to get someone to you it could potentially save your life. another example, you try to get your phone/inhaler & it drops out of reach - the dog could retrieve the item for you.

in the mean time, you say that you keep your inhaler in your purse, is that right? you may want to think about getting something to go on the waist of your pants as a carrier for it. i did a quick search online & found this - http://www.achooallergy.com/med-ready-tote.asp
i'm sure that you could find something similar to this that would keep your inhaler/phone handy, rather than having to dig for it in your purse. you could probably find something in a hardware section that construction workers use to carry their nails/screws in. it may not be the most attractive thing, but again, if it saves your life it is worth a couple strange looks.
Daisy SD

Daisy May Murphy- Dog
Barked: Tue Sep 7, '10 3:49pm PST 
Hello, my service dog Daisy its train to alert me when there may be something that triggers my asthma. I also suffer from anxiety and Daisy helps calm me down and helps me to exit a situation. A service dog is definitely a possibility for you.

Born to eat and- look at you- funny
Barked: Tue Sep 7, '10 6:46pm PST 
Thanks Jack and Daisy,

I would it would be just my luck that I end in the hospital shortly after writing that thread from another surprise asthma attack. Being that I had such a recent attack (sigh) I do see the potential for having a SD. For one I was trying to make my way homeon the other side of town ans being a little ill I did believed I could have made it to the bus stop atleast so that I could rest and get home safely but I fell entirely helpless in the parking lot as people passed me. (People I swear) My little chi mix I had with me, Fox,stayed by my side even though I had no strength to hold her. She did whine as people passed as I laid there. I eventually summed enough energy to call my fiance and make my back into the apartment slowly but surely. i called him again and told him I was not sure if I wanted to got to the hospital but I waited for him to get back and surely enough we went. Fox did help alot by sticking very closely to me and continuously jumping up in my lap to help me sit up straight enough to take in air. I dont think this would make her a good SD since she is shy and timid. I'm still currently in the hospital and will my case whenever I can see the pulmonogist.


Super Silver- Service Spoodle
Barked: Wed Sep 8, '10 1:57pm PST 
I'm sorry to hear you're in the hospital again. I think that we might be able to assist you more if you had more specific questions. Do you have any specific questions? Are you interested in getting a dog from a program or training your own dog? Here's something I've typed up before about how to train your own dog:

Step 1: Talk with your doctor, verify your disability, and discuss what work or tasks a dog could do to assist you. Talk with other service dog owners about the pros and cons of living with a service dog, reading these webpages for more information http://www.psychdog.org/lifestyle.html and http://www.psychdog.org/faq.html

Step 2: Find a trainer and have your dog temperament tested to make sure they are likely to make it as a service dog-- any sign of aggression in a dog's past (towards humans or other animals) is unacceptable in a service dog candidate in my opinion. Talk with the trainer and/or a vet to be sure your dog can safely do the work/tasks needed to assist you. Also have your dog examined by a vet to make sure they are healthy enough to work. If you don't have a dog, or your dog is not suitable for service work, read this article for help deciding what breed and where to get the dog: http://www.psychdog.org/lifestyle_ChoosingDog.html and hire a professional trainer to help you pick a dog.

Step 3: Master basic obedience at home, in local parks, in petstores, and in other dog friendly stores-- some hardware stores and bookstores will allow pets, call and ask. Make sure to start keeping a training log of what you are doing, how your dog is doing with obedience, public access and assistance behaviors.

Step 4: Once your dog is pretty much able to pass the CGC (in other words could do it with the use of a few treats, or could do it all except for the leaving the dog alone bit) purchase a vest and in training patches, and visit the places in step 3 with the vest on. If you haven't already started training tasks/work, start that now, too.

Step 5: Gradually visit more and more difficult environments-- saving places with lots of crowds, food etc for later. Train to the public access standard on the PSDS website.

Step 6: If you live in a state with SDIT protection, spend another few months in training just to make sure you're both really comfortable with whatever comes up. Really, it's not a race!

Step 7: Take a public access test like the one here http://www.psychdog.org/attach/Public_Access_Standard_Test_Sheet.pdf and have someone videotape it if possible. If you don't have a trainer who can give the test, have a friend do it. The idea is that your dog should be able to perform these things, and if you ever have a court case, video proof of this may be helpful, or at least a letter from a trainer saying that you did the things.

Also, PSDS has an owner training standard that lists the steps in a slightly different format here:


Born to eat and- look at you- funny
Barked: Wed Sep 8, '10 3:56pm PST 
Hey Olli,
and thanks again for coming to aid in my quest to educate myself on the PSD/SD/SDIT.

I think I have more ideas then questions in my head but I will give it a shot.

1. For one what breed or size dog would be good for me?

-What I know from all previous attacks before is lack of balance that I have during an attack and how quickly I am to become light headed and fall. I know for another thing that having a larger dog for work like this is to me, more comforting and seems more of a deterrent to possible crime seekers that my area is just crawling with.

2. My activity level lacks a little.

-I believe its due to the non existent confidence I have in staying out for long periods due to my experience with my asthma and my panic attacks.I get so tired because I'm constantly worried that I'm going o have an attack.

3.Next is my job.
-I work as a dog bather. I typically have no trouble when I am at work. Its just when I have to work upfront is when the stress comes in. I work with customers in the salon but I am presumably stay in the back just so I can wash my dogs and be left alone to get them done on time. Due to lack of time in the work schedule my Supervisor sees that I am more helpful upfront and stocking things and customer relations. It's fine with me , it's just hard to focus and a lot of the times I get called out for spacing out. On another note I can't give up this job. One for the fact that I need the money for school and losing it will put me in a further financial bind then I am already in. It sucks and it worries me greatly. Sorry for being off topic but I was wondering how a SD would work in this environment. I know the dog trainer that works there has a SDIT and he helps her around the store when she is assisting customers and ringing up merchandise.

4. I have 3 other dogs at home.
-Well two at my parents house and one at the apartment I take up temporary residence at. Getting a SD would bea helpful thing but I don' think the fact that I am not on the lease at the current apartment is going to help my case in getting a SD. I haven't put myself on yet because of my living situation being currently up in the air especially since I've been sick as of late. My folks want me to come home which is understandable. But I have dogs that are not entirely trained, sociable, but I feel may alter training if they are around.

- I go to an art school where it is pretty much expected of my to participate in the arts that have some type of chemical smell or toxic affect on living things and I worry about having an SD around it. I know that the dog can be trained to interact with whatever it is I have to use but would this be a violation of care that I am supposed to provide for the dog.I know this questions my asthma but they are already precautions set up for me when I finally get to those courses.


Right now my only form of transportation is public transit. I was just wondering if's a difficult thing and I am I required to ride the Transit Mobility buses instead of the regular everyday bus?

7.Social Time
- Now I am learning how to travel to places on my own without dragging my boyfriend or one of my friends along. I've always hated being alone when traveling since I've been attacked and approached many times. I get very nervy about being alone and I feel like a SD would help my anxieties because once the panic starts I am on a guaranteed trip to the hospital and sometimes the police station until someone can come and get me.

So I hope this helps with posing up some advice. I've been trying to find the right way to put my questions or ideas out. Since I am right 7 page paper on BSL for English class my mind is just kind of likeeek

Thanks everyone!
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