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2. The concept of canine PTSD is very new. While behavioral issues in animals are not uncommon, this is different. Interest in this subject rose when veterans began noticing strange behavior among dogs that had been exposed to gun shots, explosions, and other forms of combat violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
3. Dogs work alongside soldiers and experience the same things they experience. Therefore the existence of canine PTSD is not surprising. Dogs suffering from PTSD tend to try and avoid the work they used to be so enthusiastic about.
4. PTSD is not just an issue for working dogs—it can develop in civilian pups as well. The disorder can be seen in house pets that have experienced a traumatic event such as a car accident.
5. Symptoms of canine PTSD vary from dog to dog and can include: hyper-vigilance, avoidance of buildings or work areas where they were previously comfortable, changes in temperament such as irritability or timidity, and most noticeably, they stop performing the tasks they were trained to perform.
6. Dogs get flashbacks, often from environmental triggers that remind them of a traumatic event. Dogs with PTSD are affected differently by these flashbacks.
7. Playtime, downtime, and more love from humans are all ways to help relieve PTSD-ridden dogs.
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11. Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, the director of the animal behavior clinic at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, says that PTSD in dogs can be managed but never fully cured because “dogs never forget”.
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12. Dogs with PTSD can also volunteer with PTSD veterans. The two can offer each other support and can relate to one another.
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