Out of 100 people, approximately 7 or 8 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives in the United States. Each year man’s favorite four-legged animal, a dog, has been shown to provide life-altering advantages to those who struggle with PTSD symptoms.
What is PTSD?
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is when men, women, and even children fall prey to a mental health affliction, usually after experiencing a traumatic event or witnessing a loved one endure a hardship. It can affect people with sudden mood swings, panic attacks, difficulty in social settings, and an overall inability to return to life as it was before the distressing event occurred.
Service dogs are helping people with the disorder PTSD live happier, fuller lives. Here is some information on traits, training, and benefits of a PTSD Service Dog.
Traits of a Quality PTSD Service Dog
Dogs can be very loving and devoted to their owners. They were born with many assets that enable them to support those with PTSD. Trainers look for specific traits when considering a dog for this critical role.
The American Psychological Association states that pet parenthood has significant mental health benefits. Not only are these service dogs specially trained to care for their handlers, but the owner is also responsible for the wellbeing of his animal, so the owner feels accomplished in his role as a pet parent.
Here are some of the traits of a good PTSD service dog:
- sociability with other people and animals
- intuition to anticipate her owner’s needs
- a sweet but not overly excited disposition
- protective of their owner
- defend the owner in a nonviolent and non-threatening way
Trained To Do
A service dog has been trained to help a person with an emotional or physical disability that impacts one or more major life activities. If you have been diagnosed with PTSD, you and your certifiably trained service dog may be protected under this ADA act.
Service dogs are trained to:
- have a primary focus on their owner
- help the owner during a panic attack
- be protective of their owner, so they can confirm there is no danger around the bend and prevent an anxiety attack
- watch over their owner around the clock
- wake their owner from nightmares by being alert tonight terror indicators
- obey specific commands
Benefits of Owning a PTSD Service Dog
A service dog with a degree in PTSD receives comprehensive training by specialists who are familiar with the many obstacles posed by this disorder. This unique PTSD Service Dog offers a variety of benefits:
- Calm someone down while or after having an anxiety or panic attack
- Looks for indicators of an impending meltdown, such as crying, constant fidgeting or twitching, or stomping
- Takes action to comfort and soothe her owner by “hugging” or nestling up on him, or even using her paws or head to block the individual from hitting or harming himself
- Ensure that their partners are taking their medication
- Retrieve an owner’s medication and bring it to the owners
- Alert owner to sounds that may go unnoticed due to a panic attack such as a smoke detector going off
- Lead their human out of the house by gently biting onto a sleeve or pant leg and guiding the handler to safety
- Prevent future issues such as substance abuse
- Give confidence to live their lives more independently
If you have a service dog, we can offer animal healthcare for your best furry friend?
At MainStreet Veterinarians, we offer Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation (pet chiropractic), nutritional counseling, and NRT (Nutrition Response testing) and a wide array of holistic foods and nutritional supplements.
MainStreet Veterinarians practices both conventional as well as alternative animal healthcare from our friendly office in Stone Mountain, GA. Offering mainly conventional veterinary medicine and surgery to also offering a wide array of alternative and holistic treatments to the veterinary community as well. Call us today to make an appointment with your beloved pet at 770-498-4620 or send us an email.