How Service Dogs Help Veterans With PTSD

K9s For Warriors veterans and their service dogs
Published: 02/27/18

Dog owners have long suspected that their canine companions benefit their lives beyond the obvious happiness from warm kisses and tail wags. Now, there's scientific research that shows that service dogs, in particular, can enhance the lives of people who need them.

A new study from Purdue University's College of Veterinary Medicine suggests that veterans who have service dogs show fewer symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) compared to veterans without a service dog. By working with K9s For Warriors – a non-profit organization that pairs specially-trained service dogs with post 9/11 veterans suffering from PTSD – researchers found that veterans with service dogs experience:

  • lower levels of depression
  • higher levels of life satisfaction
  • higher levels of companionship
  • fewer missed days of work due to health reasons

The study, co-funded by Bayer Animal Health and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), helps researchers see exactly how service dogs, in addition to traditional PTSD treatments, can impact veterans' lives. Researchers from Purdue will continue to study veterans and service dogs, thanks to funding from National Institutes of Health.

"As far as formal science is concerned, there was no documented link between PTSD and how service dogs can effectively address aspects of the disability," Rory Diamond, CEO, K9s For Warriors said. "This ground-breaking study begins to fill that research gap."

All dog owners want the best for their companions, but it's especially important for these veterans and the service dogs they depend on. They form a life-saving relationship and bond. That's why Bayer continues to support K9s For Warriors and the veterans and service dogs paired in their program.

"The results of this study demonstrate not only the impact of this unbreakable bond, but also that these service dogs are so much more than service dogs; they are able to bring the joy of living back into veterans' lives," Bayer Animal Health Vice President for Companion Animal Product Marketing David Van Brunt says. "Bayer is committed to helping ensure that these service dogs receive the proper and routine care they need to stay healthy so they can support their veteran on a daily basis."

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