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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and dogs

To help military personnel, police, fire, and other emergency responders who have experienced Posttraumatic Stress Disorder due to their difficult jobs, 4leggers has provided this list of top questions and answers regarding PTSD relief and dogs. We've collected all of the U.S. government's official reports and guidelines for people with PTSD and answered the top questions below. Links are provided throughout to take you to pages where you can learn more or follow up with taking steps to get your own emotional support dog, service dog, or maybe you just want a companion. 

Recovering from PTSD

Recovering from PTSD is a process. Evidence-based treatments for PTSD help people do things they have been avoiding because of their PTSD, such as standing close to a stranger or going into a building without scanning it for danger first. Evidence-based treatments can also help people feel better. Dogs can help you deal with some parts of living with PTSD, but they are not a substitute for effective PTSD treatment.

Although people with PTSD who have a service dog for a physical disability or emotional support dog may feel comforted by the animal, there is some chance they may continue to believe that they cannot do certain things on their own. For example, if the dog keeps strangers from coming too close, the owner will not have a chance to learn that they can handle this situation without the dog. Becoming dependent on a dog can get in the way of the recovery process for PTSD. Based on what we know from research, evidence-based treatment provides the best chance of recovery from PTSD.

Dogs and PTSD

Owning a dog can lift your mood or help you feel less stressed. Dogs can help people feel better by providing companionship. All dog owners, including those who have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can experience these benefits.

Clinically, there is not enough research yet to know if dogs actually help treat PTSD and its symptoms. Evidence-based therapies and medications for PTSD are supported by research. We encourage you to learn more about these treatments because it is difficult to draw strong conclusions from the few studies on dogs and PTSD that have been done.

From the VA's site