Having a service dog can greatly enhance the life of someone living with a chronic disease. They allow patients to regain some of their independence by helping with small everyday tasks like opening and closing doors, fetching meds, acting as a prop or support as their owner stands, switching on lights and attracting attention in cases of emergency. As well as the help they give people with disabilities or illnesses, service dogs make great companions. However, not everyone is suitable for a service dog. According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, you need to consider a few things before deciding whether or not a service dog is for you. MORE: Look inside the brain of an Alzheimer's patient Assess your accommodations. You need to live in a place big enough for a service dog. Other things to take into consideration are whether or not you have a yard and if it's secure. Do you have any other pets? Most service dog providers recommend that the dog is the only pet in the household, so if you already have a dog or a cat, it may be a problem. Can you take care of the dog? Having a service dog is a two-way street. You will need to be able to feed, groom, and clean up after your dog or have someone else who can. Can you afford a service dog? In addition to the initial cost of the animal, it costs an estimated $1,500 to $2,000 a year to look after a service dog, including food and healthcare. The average service dog stays with an individual or family for around eight years.