Service Dogs - VAMC Manchester, New Hampshire
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VAMC Manchester, New Hampshire


Service Dogs

What is a Service Dog?

A service dog is a dog trained to do specific tasks for a person that he or she cannot do because of a disability.

Service dogs can:

  • Pick things up
  • Guide a person with vision problems
  • Alert a deaf person to an alarm
  • Help support someone who falls or loses balance easily
  • Calm a person with PTSD during an anxiety attack
Servicemember with Dog

Protecting someone, giving emotional support, or being a companion do NOT qualify a dog to be a service animal.

To be a service dog, a dog must do through training. Usually the dog is trained to:

  • Do things that are different from natural dog behavior
  • Do things that the handler (dog owner) cannot do because of a disability

Service dogs are allowed on VA property, as long as they are on a leash, behave, and do not present any safety concerns. Pets are not allowed on VA property, nor are service animals that are not dogs.

What does the VA provide?

VA will provide pet health insurance, and travel to obtain and train with certain types of service dogs. (This does NOT currently include PTSD or Mental Health dogs unless you also have a mobility impairment associated with the mental health diagnosis).

  • Prosthetics service provides the veterinary care via a pet insurance policy.   The VA does not pay for boarding, grooming, food, or any other routine expense associated with owning a dog.

  • Beneficiary Travel pays for transportation to and from the dog organization, and some costs of housing and meals while there.

What if I already have a Service Dog?

Veterinary Care can still be provided by the VA as long as:

  • the Treatment Team concurs
  • Dog is from an accredited organization
  • Treatment team submits an application to Prosthetics, and it is approved

Will the VA give me a dog?

Service Dog  The VA does NOT provide service dogs. Veterans are responsible for searching for dogs on their own.  The VA does not assist with application fees or other costs associated with obtaining a dog (there are many organizations that provide dogs to Veterans at little or NO cost).



Anyone with a disability can get a service dog, as there are multiple agencies throughout the country that provide service dog training at a cost. You can even train a service dog yourself.  However, in order to receive pet health Insurance, the dog must be trained by an accredited organization, and you must go through the process described in “Steps to Obtain VA Benefits for a Service Dog” in this brochure.

Things to consider before applying for a Service Dog:

  • What is the disability you need a service dog to assist you with?
  • What tasks would a service dog help you with?
  • What other devices or strategies have you tried to help with your disability?
  • Would be able to care for a dog for several years, including ongoing expense of having a dog?

Steps to Obtain VA benefits for a Service Dog:

1.) Discuss your needs with your provider.

2.) Your provider will refer you to a social worker for preliminary screening and education.

3.) You will find and apply to an accredited dog training agency through Assistance Dogs International, or International Guide Dog Federation.

4.) If you are approved for a dog by an accredited agency, you will contact the social worker again to help you through the process of a VA clinical evaluation.

5.) Your provider will send an application to Prosthetics for approval of travel for training and for pet insurance

6.) You will be notified of the decision and can make travel arrangements. Veterinary insurance starts within 30 days.

Additional information:


Contact Info


  • 718 Smyth Road
    Manchester VAMC

Contact Number(s)

  • 603-624-4366 Ext. 6475
  • 603-624-4366 Ext. 6455

Hours of Operation

  • 8:00am - 4:30pm