The term "service animal" under Department of Justice regulation is defined as: "Dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities." Therapy or emotional support dogs are not considered service animals and therefore not permitted in the cave.
Carlsbad Cavern's park policy states that leashed service dogs are allowed on all paved roads, pullouts, parking and picnic areas, along Walnut Canyon Desert Drive (Loop Road), on the paved Nature Trail, and at Rattlesnake Springs. Service animals are also allowed inside the cave on the King's Palace Trail, Big Room, Natural Entrance Trail and Bat Flight Amphitheater.
At this time, service dogs are not allowed on off-trail cave tours due to the close proximity of safety caution tape on trails that mark deep drop-offs and protect park resources. In addition to resource protection, most service dogs have not been trained to climb ladders, use ropes and belly crawl. Off-trail tours where service dogs are not permitted are: Left Hand Tunnel, Lower Cave, Hall of the White Giant, Spider Cave and Slaughter Canyon Cave. Pets are not allowed inside the visitor center.
All service animals are subject to laws pertaining to leash or other restraint devices, pet excrement disposal, unreasonable noise, remaining under control of owner, and leaving pet unattended.