Allowing Service Dogs for Psychological Disorders

            The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a Service Dogs as ”dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. 

Those With Psychological Disorders

            I then began to wonder, what about all of the psychological disorders and disabilities people are coping with in our society. I’m sure you know plenty of people, if not yourself, that have more peace of mind when they have the companionship of their pet. However, the ADA states that “Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.” But what if someone is emotionally unstable and their dog is the only thing that keeps them balanced? Should they not have the privilege of making their dog a legitimate Service Dog?

Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)

           So I did some further research and found that Emotional Support Animals (ESA) do exist. They are defined as “a dog or other common domestic animal that provides therapeutic support to a disabled or elderly owner through companionship, nonjudgmental positive regard, affection, and focus on life.” Beautiful. Further, a doctor can determine that a patient with a disabling mental illness would benefit from the companionship of an ESA, and can write a letter suggesting the allowance of an ESA in a “no pets” aircraft cabin. To clarify, however, ESAs are NOT task-trained like service dogs are and they are NOT considered Service Dogs at all. The only requirement for an ESA is that they are well-behaved and are housebroken. 

Pseudo Service Dogs

           Since Emotional Support Animals are not Service Dogs, you cannot bring them just anywhere. They are still considered pets and are not allowed admittance into establishments that forbid animals. However, I’ve recently heard of a sweeping trend of “Pseudo Service Dogs”. Well, it seems that some of our fellow citizens across the U.S. have decided to bend the law in their own favor by claiming their dogs as legitimate Service Dogs….AND YOU CAN TOO.

         I am not encouraging anyone to take the law into their own hands and gain the superpower of taking your dog along with you ANYWHERE you please, but I want to bring light to this underground community of “Pseudo Service Dogs” and what lengths folks are going to keep their best friend by their side, at all times. 

         Interestingly, when it is not obvious what service an animal provides, the ADA only permits limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions:

 (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and 
 (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. 

Loophole (shhhh..)

          Staff cannot ask about the person

"A Pet’s Cookbook" for Homemade Dog/Cat Recipes PLUS History of Pet Food

First Cat Food Ad Banner

So, When Did Commercialized Dog Food Start?

          I was recently in a discussion with one of our customer service reps named Janna over e-mail, as she was graciously providing us with homemade dog and cat treat recipes with great pictures of the final product. The idea sparked in my head that before there were commercialized and even smaller-scale dog food and treat companies, what did people provide their dogs to eat on a normal basis and what was their longevity like? 

I began to wonder:

  • Did someone in the neighborhood make a small business out of homemade treats perhaps?
  • Did dogs and cats just rummage through the garbage? 
  • Were they given the fat and trimmings of a family’s meal or something more substantial? 
        I’m sure this all varied based on economic status (ability to spoil monetarily-speaking) and based on a family’s value for their pet (are they part of the family or “just a dog”). 

Spratt’s Patent Limited

        I found some answers after visiting Wikipedia regarding the history of dog food and found out that the first company ever was called “Spratt’s Patent Limited”. It was started by James Spratt, an American electrician, who concocted the first dog treat in the mid-1800s. 

        Wikipedia claims that ”Before the advent of commercially made pet foods, most dogs lived off of grains, meats, table scraps and homemade food from their owners.” It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that the world saw its first food made specifically for dogs.  Living in London at the time, James Spratt witnessed dogs around a shipyard eating scraps of discarded biscuits. Shortly thereafter, he introduced his dog food made up of wheat meals, vegetables and meat. By 1890 production had begun in the United States. As for cats, the idea about feeding cats special food came about in the late 1800′s (after dogs). According to Wikipedia, Spratt’s was also the first company to make cat food as well. 

How Did Intro of Commercial Food Effect Pet Lifespan?

        As for the history of a dog or cat’s lifespan expectancy, I was unable to find any content to support this question. According to Pet Health 101, a website that answers any pet questions, today the average life expectancy of a dog is 10-12 years and a cat is 10-14 years. There are many factors that play into these averages such as whether a cat is feral or indoor. Also heavily based on the breed of the dog. Lap Dogs are said to live up to 20 years while Great Danes are at 7-8 years, unfortunately. Perhaps one can imagine that those numbers were a couple years lower two hundred years ago. 

Making Treats as an Activity-  “COOL!”

        The moral of this blog post is that we encourage you to make more treats or meals for your pet at home. It could be a really fun activity with friends, kids, in schools, or just alone with your pet if that’s the way you roll! Plus, you know exactly what your pet is eating so their are no nutrition labels to really struggle through. I think Dealwagger needs to get a pet treat cooking class together one day soon.

Preview of our E-Cookbook Cover

Cookbook – Submit Your Recipes (w/ pictures)

          We are going to release an E-Cookbook that will go out to all of our new subscribers as a free gift to download. The E implies that it will be in an electronic document in PDF format which you can easily view and scroll through on your computer. 

          If you cook for your pet, or if you know someone that does and has a great recipe, we encourage you to shoot us an e-mail at or and we will consider you for inclusion into our Cookbook. We would want a written recipe, any pictures of the process and the final product (as high quality as possible), and a short bio about who the recipe is from. We will check with a professional to make sure the recipe is safe for your pets to consume. 

Some of the first commercial dog treats

We appreciate your readership and interest in improving the quality of life of you and your pet’s, which is exactly our mission at “Follow” us on Twitter @dealwagger.  “Like” us on Facebook at follow our posts, and sign-up for our newsletter where we share worthwhile resources and contest freebies. Receive discounts and offers in your E-mail inbox on quality pet products shipped to your door and on goods/services locally. 

Our launch date is soooo close! We will see you live within a couple weeks from now.

About the author: Kevin Opos is the Director Marketing of, having graduated with a B.A. in Communication from UC Santa Barbara with an emphasis in Media Marketing. Residing in Los Angeles, CA, he has shared-custody of 2 dogs, rescued 2 cats, and is dedicated to supporting animal rescue organizations & the prevention of animal abuse by giving a voice to those who cannot speak.