Service dogs are available through sites such as ServiceDogsForAmerica.org. Alternatively, check with Assistance Dogs International to find a local program for PTSD dogs. However, as of 2015, note that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs does not recommend a service dog over an untrained dog to treat PTSD.Continue Reading
Research is ongoing on how service dogs provide disability services for PTSD, according to the VA, who has not found substantive evidence to suggest that service dogs provide more benefit to PTSD suffers than normal dogs. A service dog has specific training to assist its handler with tasks that the handler's disability prevents him from doing. They do things that normal dogs cannot, such as picking up items for their handlers or guiding blind people. The VA does not feel that PTSD requires more than the companionship and emotional support that an ordinary pet provides.
This condition differs from other uses for service dogs because it is not necessarily permanent. PTSD potentially improves over time with proper treatment, says the VA, noting that no animal is a substitute for such treatment. Ordinary dogs provide comfort and companionship to a handler with a mental condition. They are sometimes called emotional support or comfort dogs, but they require no special training or certification. They are not always allowed to enter public places unless given special permission.Learn more about Mental Health