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Service Dogs Help Soldiers with PTSD


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U.S. Veterans Administration estimates that 400,000 ex-soldiers are currently being treated for post traumatic stress disorder syndrome with the numbers climbing daily.

It’s not a made-up dysfunction – the VA certainly admits PTSD exists. And those numbers don’t count thousands more with traumatic brain injuries.

The rate of divorces, substance abuse and unemployment among veterans with PTSD exceed those in the general population. Suicide rates are off the map, with near 40 attempts daily – and around half that number succeed. What’s happening is tragic but is avoidable, apparently by pairing the right service dog with the right veteran.

The human-animal bond is an amazing thing…It’s amazing what pets can do for us! It is real.

With a service dog, it makes a medical difference for veterans who make take fewer prescription drugs or lower dosages, which means fewer side affects and larger savings for everyone, including taxpayers. In fact, I believe  service dogs should be a prescription covered by insurance

Paired with a dog, veterans exhibit more  confidence that ‘someone likes me – no matter what mood I’m in.’ Also, when the bond is right the dogs can fend off panic attacks and even wake their handler during .

So, now that once debilitated veteran can get a part or full time job. and is someone contributing to society and not taking unemployment. Most important, that veteran, after serving us, deserves to feel better about himself or herself.

Despite the fact that all the above is true, the VA is unfortunately no longer supporting service dogs for PTSD soldiers, though private organizations are.

Here, I talk about this topic with veterinary behaviorist Dr. Karen Overall who works with the military.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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