The Military Times recently reported that two new research studies will further evaluate whether service dogs alleviate symptoms associated with PTSD. The first study, conducted by Purdue University, is looking to see if service dogs have improved medical symptoms, social anxiety and relationships in post 9/11 veterans. This study works with a nonprofit organization, K9’s for Warriors to train rescue animals and pair them with combat veterans who suffer from PTSD or a traumatic brain injury.
The second, conducted by the VA, will examine the role of emotional support dogs in veteran’s lives. Unlike trained service dogs, emotional support dogs will provide love, companionship and affection to their owners. The study will include 230 veterans with PTSD in various locations around the United States. Currently, the VA provides service dogs only to veterans with certain physical disabilities but not for veterans with psychiatric disabilities. Hopefully these studies will prove that pets, especially emotional support dogs and service dogs, can play a large role in the overall health of veterans.