How to Deal with PTSD in Dogs

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PTSD is a very serious condition. It’s a common misconception that humans are the only ones that can suffer from this disorder. Animals can experience PTSD too. Especially dogs who have worked in the military. The dogs in the military were trained to scout, be messengers, and do tactical-type tasks. They also used to participate in combat-operation tasks and other forms of law enforcement. What these dogs see in their line of duty can have a big impact on their overall mental health. Although these dogs are of above-average intelligence, resilience, and strength, they can still get canine post-traumatic stress disorder or C-PTSD.

What exactly is canine post-traumatic stress disorder?
As PTSD in canines is still a fairly new field of study, the owners and vets who examine the dog have to rule out all other possibilities before diagnosing it. Dogs behave in a certain way. We know when there’s a significant change in our dog’s behavior. The vets will conduct various tests to rule out other possibilities like actual medical causes or injuries or illnesses that might have brought on the sudden change.

There is always a difficulty when it comes to properly diagnosing a dog with PTSD as the event that might have caused him drama goes unnoticed in most cases. The symptoms that are a result of a traumatic experience may take a number of months to manifest and when it does, majority of people either miss it, or it isn’t properly diagnosed.

What are the symptoms of canine post-traumatic disorder?

Similar to the symptoms commonly associated with distress, the most common symptoms to watch out for are:

  • A change in responsiveness to the atmosphere around him.
  • Failure to follow commands and carry out tasks.
  • A change in the relationship with his owner.
  • Lethargy
  • Avoidance or escape behavior.
  • Signs of anxiety, stress, or fear.

Although these are the most common symptoms, it tends to vary significantly from dog to dog. While some dogs tend to be uninterested and lethargic, other dogs may continue to be themselves but be easily unsettled and be overaggressive towards their owners. Just like humans, the dog patients suffering from PTSD may be in different stages of the disorder, and act differently to the treatment.

How to treat canine PTSD:
The strategies most used to protect dogs against PTSD are proper training and care. Dogs are incredibly resilient creatures. In the event that he does get diagnosed with PTSD, the best mode of treatment is to combine different kinds of therapy according to the level of trauma that he has gone through. The therapies all depend on the frequency, intensity, and type of symptoms that each individual dog displays. It’s advisable to avoid stressful environments all together like places that are too noisy. Meditation can also help calm the nerves. Your vet knows best when it comes to C-PTSD treatments.