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National Service Dog Eye Examination Month – May 2023

National Service Dog Eye Examination Month takes place annually in May throughout the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. It’s an event that provides free eye examinations to service animals. The goal is to provide as many free eye exams as possible and support good ocular health for the service animals. Every year in May, approximately 7,000 to 8,000 eye exams are performed. As an example, guide dogs, also known as seeing-eye dogs, help enhance the quality of life of blind individuals. That’s why maintaining their eyes health becomes necessary.

History of National Service Dog Eye Examination Month

National Service Dog Eye Examination Month started in May 2008, initiated by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists (A.C.V.O.). Service dogs help enhance the well-being of individuals with physical impairments, and screening eye exams can help detect ocular diseases at the earliest stage in these dedicated dogs. This philanthropic program is performed by certified members of the A.C.V.O., providing free eye exams throughout the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Annually, around 7,000 to 8,000 eye exams are performed on service animals.

Service dogs or assistance dogs are those specifically trained to help or assist individuals with disabilities. They assist people with visual and hearing impairments, mobility issues, medical disabilities such as diabetes, psychiatric or mental disabilities, and autism. The most common dog breeds used to be service dogs are German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers. Service dogs go through a strict training schedule to develop their needed skills. The training begins when the puppies are only a few weeks old, and it can last for years.

There are no federal laws for service dog certification in the U.S., but service dog owners or trainers and breeders can opt to register their pets as service dogs and get some sort of certification. During this National Service Dog Eye Examination Month, the service animals must be certified by certain national, regional, or local organizations to be eligible for free eye exams. Animals who are currently enrolled in a formal service-training program are also eligible. Since the exams are complimentary, they will not be appropriate for animals with known eye issues.

National Service Dog Eye Examination Month timeline

1920s
The Seeing-Eye Dogs

Seeing-eye dogs with specific legal protections appear in the United States.

1976
NEADS Inc.

The nonprofit organization National Education for Assistance Dog Services and Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans is established.

1990
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

ADA is passed, and service dogs become legally recognized in the United States.

2008
National Service Dog Eye Examination Month

The first National Service Dog Eye Examination Month takes place.

National Service Dog Eye Examination Month FAQs

Do Service dogs help with anxiety?

Psychiatric service dogs help someone with anxiety by bringing medication or water for swallowing the medication and bringing a phone over during an anxiety attack so that you can call for support.

What is the difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog?

Emotional support dogs are not considered service dogs under the ADA because they are not trained for specific tasks or duties to aid a person with a disability.

What is the best emotional support dog?

Labrador Retrievers can be perfect as emotional support dog breeds because they are known to be some of the gentlest breeds.

How to Observe National Service Dog Eye Examination Month

  1. Get the service dog examined

    If you or someone you know have a service dog, it’s time to get this dedicated canine’s eyes examined. Hopefully, the service dog is certified so it can get a free eye examination.

  2. Spread the word

    Tell others about National Service Dog Eye Examination Month. In case some service dog owners forgot to get their dogs checked, they can take advantage of this event by getting their service dogs’ eyes examined for free.

  3. Give a full-body check-up

    The event of National Service Dog Eye Examination Month only provides an eye exam, which is complimentary. You may also want to get your service dog a full-body check-up.

5 Facts About Service Dogs You Need To Know

  1. They are not pets

    Service dogs are not pets; these dedicated dogs are highly trained professionals.

  2. They don’t have to wear vests

    Wearing vests is not required for service dogs, but it can make access easier.

  3. Any dog breed can serve

    Although most service dogs are German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers, other breeds can also be service dogs.

  4. Do not distract them

    Service dogs are dogs with specific responsibilities, so it’s better to let them do their job, no matter how bad you want to pet them.

  5. Some candidates fail in training

    Around 50 to 70% of canine candidates fail the training to become service dogs.

Why National Service Dog Eye Examination Month is Important

  1. To give thanks

    Getting our service dogs checked is one of many ways to give thanks to them for their dedication. Their health is as essential as our health.

  2. It serves as a reminder

    National Service Dog Eye Examination Month event provides free eye exams for service dogs. It also becomes a reminder to get our service dogs a full-body check-up.

  3. To share the news

    The goal of the event is to provide as many eye exams as possible. So, it’s a good idea to let more people know that they can be eligible to get their service dogs’ eye exams for free.

National Service Dog Eye Examination Month dates

YearDateDay
2023May 1Monday
2024May 1Wednesday
2025May 1Thursday
2026May 1Friday
2027May 1Saturday
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