Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dogs with PTSD

We recently celebrated Memorial Day here in the USA, and many spend a little extra time thinking about the men and women who are enlisted in military service. While Post Traumatic Stress Disorder isn't a problem that only affects military personnel, it is often associated with veterans, because they are more likely to experience events that can trigger PTSD.

It is important to know that PTSD can be triggered by any event bigger than oneself - it can be triggered by a natural disaster, a car accident, robbery, or any physical or emotional trauma that causes extreme stress.

What you might not know, is that PTSD doesn't only affect humans. Dogs can show symptoms too. Nearly five percent of deployed military dogs display symptoms of PTSD - they have been subjected to difficult situations, and react like humans do.

Military veterinarians say it can show through dogs becoming clingy or aggressive, they might refuse to enter areas where they used to be comfortable, or become hyper-vigilent and set off alarms whether there's something to worry about or not.

Dogs affected should be given lots of exercise, play time, and gentle obedience training. Not all dogs that go through a stressful event develop PTSD, but some do, and knowing what's wrong is the first step towards helping.

~ Maria Sadowski ~

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