Service Dogs Working for Veterans Suffering from PTSD

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms can be terrifying and utterly disruptive to the lives of the many people who suffer from it. People who have survived car accidents, victims of sexual abuse, and military veterans are all extremely susceptible to this socially crippling problem, which can cause extreme anxiety, nightmares, difficulty breathing, and even total isolation from society. A variety of therapies and medication can be used to treat the condition, each with varying degrees of success. A relatively new option that is having positive results in many instances is the use of working dogs to provide help and companionship for people suffering from PTSD symptoms.

When more traditional forms of medicine fails, the use of PTSD service dogs, as they are sometimes called, can be a very effective form of treatment. This has been particularly successful in treating discharged members of the military. A non-profit program called K9s for Warriors specializes in matching people in need with a helping paw from man's best friend.

These helpful and devoted creatures are specially trained to pick up on their owner's cues when they appear under distress and need support and comfort.

“In the military, these warriors are never alone, but when they come back to civilian life, they feel like they can’t let their guard down. But a dog is always on alert and on guard. Having that buddy next to them allows them to relax." (Sandi Capra, director of development for K9s for Warriors)

These dogs are also trained to provide a barrier between their owners and strangers when needed. For most sufferers of PTSD, this is a very comforting and reassuring feeling. Capra also adds that so far, 92 percent of her program's graduates are able to reduce their medications through the companionship of their working dog.

Utilizing working dogs is still considered more of a supplemental treatment than a stand-alone option, and it is a fairly recent development in the field of PTSD treatment. However, studies are underway to test the positive effects of service dogs in this area. The results from these studies could go a long way in understanding the potential benefits of this concept and maybe even convince the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to start providing working dogs for veterans who need them.

Wiredog is a proud manufacturer and distributor of dog supplies located in northeast Ohio. Wiredog specializes in service dog equipment. Visit our website today for more information on any of our top quality products. We would love to be able to assist you and your K9 companion.

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