Dogs and PTSD

Post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD in dogs has now been diagnosed.  In the changes of the recent surge and in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, warrior dogs have seen their fair share of bombing experience and war.  With this new realization, the hope is that PTSD in dogs is tracked in the future, and the data of their struggle with the stress of war lost.

PTSD in Dogs Symptoms Similar to Human PTSD Symptoms

With the triggers of the noise and confusion of the battlefield, stress is the result, as the human nervous system is not built for such variances and physical demands.  Our canine companions, are similar, as they need the same environment as we do, where our bodies are not in a fight or flight pattern 24/7.  With canines, they are a pack animal as well, and the constant sole partnership they experience with humans is beneficial, but without a pack of sorts, they often feel lost and isolated.

Warrior dogs experience PTSD in dogs more than other dogs of other working conditions, as they are often paired with multiple human handlers.  The problem begins with this transition at the initial outlay from one master to another.  Then, with no real time to begin a new relationship, the action of being a warrior dog commences, and the stresses of war.

PTSD in Dogs Symptoms

  • Anger or malace
  • Distraction
  • Constant Panting or Turning in place
  • Jumping at loud noises
  • Running from the noise of a tool or electronic device
  • Concentration on Hearing Noises-Being Aware of Danger to Come
  • Lack of rest and sleep
  • Constant barking or whining
  • Unable to enter a car or truck without coaching

All of these symptoms are similar to human symptoms, but do not offer us a communication to these warrior dogs.  They may be reliving a stressful event where a partner in war has died or been wounded, or just the noise and struggle of the changes of war.  Variability of dealing with the action of war, causes more stress, as it creates a need to remain in fight or flight mode constantly.

PTSD in dogs can be trained to a manageable place with a little work and persistence.  Dogs are live in the moment creatures, and do not suffer from long term memory issues.   Unlike humans, PTSD in dogs is not as much an emotional stress-er, where humans seem to struggle with emotional charged memories.  With dogs, a memory which resulted in PTSD, can be easily trained through with daily correction and love.

PTSD in dogs becomes less and less

Work through your issues with PTSD like your warrior dog may problem solve, and you may have an edge when the time comes to deal with the stress once again.  With removal from the environment, and a realization that the human bond will not be broken again, a dog can find resolution to PTSD.

A solider in action sees the same kind of stressors, and can result in a positive gain with repetition of positive actions and thoughts following our canine friends advice.

  • Stay in the Moment
  • Do not let a memory control your concentration
  • Follow your love of your life with compassion and respect
  • Learn to live again without the responsibility of flight or flight

With these small steps, you may find an edge when your really need it.  Working through the PTSD in dogs issue, it is important that we do keep records of warrior dogs that show signs, and show improvement.  This will be encouraging for our soliders in action, and show that PTSD in dogs is not a death sentence.




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