How Service Dog Fundraising Can Unlock Your Independence

a service dog in training
GoFundMe Team
|4 min read


A service dog can help make previously challenging tasks like going grocery shopping easier and less stressful. These trained canine companions also help boost self-esteem and keep people socially active. Sadly, the high cost of getting and training a service dog can put these animals out of reach. That’s where crowdfunding can help.

Service dog fundraising gives friends and family a great way to show support for someone with a limitation or disability who needs help from man’s best friend.

The different types of service dogs

You’ll find there are many different kinds of service dogs. The following types are listed at the National Service Animal Registry.

What is a guide dog?

If you experience vision problems, these dogs are trained to guide you in public settings.

What is a hearing alert dog?

These dogs are trained to alert you to sounds you are unable to hear or identify, such as alarm clocks, doorbells, telephones, and automobile sounds.

What is a medical assistance dog?

These dogs are trained to assist you when experiencing a physical situation in which you can’t perform a major life task for yourself (retrieving items, opening doors, turning on lights, etc.).

What is a mobility dog?

These dogs are trained to provide stability and support for those with substantial balance or walking problems due to physical disability.

What is a seizure alert dog?

These dogs are trained to either predict seizures or get assistance from another person at the onset of a seizure.

What is a psychiatric service animal (PSA)?

These dogs can help those with psychiatric or emotional disabilities that substantially limit the ability to perform a major life task—they’re trained to perform or help perform the task. A letter from a licensed therapist or psychiatrist, clearly indicating need, is required for PSA certification.

What is an emotional support animal (ESA)?

If the presence of your dog is what enables you to function normally on a daily basis, it may be classified as an Emotional Support Animal. While an Emotional Support Animal isn’t technically a service dog, if that’s the type of dog you want (or have), check out our post about the many advantages of an emotional support animal.

young boy with his service dog
Hope For Cole

Service dog facts

  • Service dogs’ training takes over a year to complete. All service dogs are tested before being given to a family.
  • While any breed can become a service dog, retrievers are considered a good choice.
  • You’re not required to put a vest on your service dog identifying it as such.
  • Service dogs aren’t considered pets, according to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • Service dogs can accompany their handlers to any public place.
  • Since service dogs are always on the job, people shouldn’t pet them unless the handler agrees.

Service dog costs to consider

Training costs

The cost of training a service dog varies based on the needs and disabilities of the individuals it serves. Basic service dog training costs around $7,000, but costs can reach $20,000 for higher-level training according to the ASDA.

Other expenses

Take into account the cost of transporting the dog to and from training. If a dog walker needs to be hired to exercise the animal, that’s another expense to factor in. And of course, don’t forget food and basic veterinary care.

Service dog fundraising makes an impact

People use crowdfunding to raise the funds they need to train or attain a service dog. Powered by donors™, GoFundMe is free to use and has a 0% platform fee, which means you get to keep more of the money you raise. We’ve seen people find great comfort in providing the funds that a friend or family member needs to get a service dog. If you or a loved one needs a service dog, start a free fundraiser today.

Start a free fundraiser

GoFundMe Team

About GoFundMe Team

The GoFundMe Team creates fresh content to help answer common fundraising questions and share proven fundraising tips and tricks to help you reach crowdfunding success.

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