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Dog Therapy For PTSD?

By — One of many Dog Breeds blogs on

Welcome to The Kibble, a weekly blog post dedicated to sharing new information about your loveable pet dog. Let's start this week off with remembering last week's blog about how dogs are known to benefit a person’s physical, mental, and psychological health. But can they actually be used as treatment for severe cases of emotional distress, like for those that suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? 

Researchers are looking into the impact that specially trained dogs can have on people with PTSD.

Ian Lord, a 25-year old Air Force veteran, is one strong believer in this treatment. He says his pet has helped him deal with PTSD, especially with triggers like hearing a helicopter overhead.

The difference is, instead of getting wound up about it the rest of the day, it's like OK, go outside and throw a ball around, or just cuddle up to him a bit and kind of snap out of it.

Today, the number of veterans receiving treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has risen from 254,930 in 2006 to 408,167 in 2010 - and since there are 40,000 more U.S. troops expected to return home from Iraq at the end of this year, numbers are predicted to rise substantially.

The most common treatments veterans receive for PSTD include psychotherapy and cognitive processing therapy. Here, they are educated and made aware of the symptoms that come with PTSD. Other natural treatments that are being used include yoga, acupuncture, and meditation.

The department isn't certain about how many veterans use service dogs as treatment and there is still debate over how beneficial this treatment really is. Yet, based on what we know about a dog's therapeutic benefits and based on veteran Ian Lord's story, there's a good chance that pets will help other veterans as well.

A new study is underway and will pair 200 dogs with different veterans in Florida and Colorado.

What’s YOUR opinion?Should dogs be part of PTSD therapy?


Photo Credit: Flickr/Army Jobs

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