There is a critical need for effective interventions to support the health of our veterans, and animal-assisted interventions (AAI) are a possible solution. A new crossover study funded in part by the ISAZ/Waltham Petcare Science Institute Collaborative Research Award and Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors® (C-P.A.W.W.®), has found that veterans with heightened symptoms of PTSD can see benefits from walking shelter dogs. They experience improved levels of the physiological stress indicators, heart rate variability and alpha-amylase, and lower levels of perceived PTSD symptoms.
The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that between 11 and 20 percent of those who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars returned home with PTSD. Another 12 percent of Desert Storm veterans and 15 percent of Vietnam War vets also have PTSD