Animals in the Hospital

Questions? Contact Us

Our policies allow for animals in the hospital, but with restrictions. These rules aim to protect patients, visitors and staff from dangerous germs. We do allow specially trained animals to meet the needs of those who have disabilities and special needs.

Types of Animals Allowed in the Hospital

We only allow three types of animals in our environment.

Service Animals

A service animal is any animal specially trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. All service animals must meet the American for Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

All handlers and their service animals must have passes. Handlers can get passes at the information desk in the hospital lobby. 

For service animal questions, email the UVA ADA office  or call us at 434.924.3295.

UVA Therapy Dogs

Our hospital enjoys the presence of a team of trained, registered dogs and volunteer handlers. Only therapy dogs registered with Volunteer Services can visit the hospital.

For more information about this program, contact Volunteer Services.


We do not permit pets and “emotional support animals" in outpatient clinics or areas.

In special circumstances, we allow pets to visit someone staying in the hospital, but only:

  • If they are dogs or cats
  • In hospital rooms, not in other clinics or spaces
  • For one hour per day
  • With doctor approval
  • With a visitor pass from the information desk
  • If following all policies for behavior and infection control


This therapy dog comforts patients in the hospital as part of an official program at UVA Health.

What Do Therapy Dogs Do?

Trained therapy dogs like Ollie visit patients in the hospital to bring comfort and stress-relief to our patients. 

Read Ollie's story