Are Puppies the Prescription for PTSD?
This Sunday marks the start of International Assistance Dog Week, a shout out to the dogs and handlers that have helped so many disabled humans take control of their everyday lives. Of course, we all know dogs contribute to human health in a multitude of ways – they help our immune systems, improve heart health, and thwart feelings of depression, to name a few – but for individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), service dogs give them a new lease on life. By providing emotional stability and an extra set of eyes and ears when they go out into the world, assistance dogs are scientifically proven to reduce symptoms of PTSD. Don’t believe us? Read on.
The Human-Animal Research Institute (HABRI) and Bayer Animal Health recently funded a study of 141 individuals with PTSD – half had a therapy animal and half were on a waitlist to receive one. Basically, the study measured how the presence of a service animal impacted various PTSD symptoms like quality of life, social functioning, and work – and guess what? The group with therapy dogs showed multiple improvements, like:
- Lower overall symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
- Lower levels of depression.
- Higher levels of life satisfaction.
- Higher overall psychological well-being.
- Lower levels of social isolation/greater ability to participate in group activities.
- Higher levels of resilience.
- Higher levels of companionship.
- Less absenteeism from work due to health.
Doctors may use several ways to treat PTSD but, if you ask us, it sounds like a pupper may be the all-natural prescription every veteran should consider. If PTSD is a cause you care about, consider making a donation this week to one of the incredible organizations trying to make a difference in the lives of those who suffer.
And if you’re part of one of these amazing orgs, give them a shoutout on our page! We’re all about petworking around here!