Stories abound about the sad fate of numerous human veterans of war who return home suffering from PTSD. In a recent essay I wrote about the likelihood of PTSD in wild animals and also about PTSD in captive animals who have been abused by humans. Now, we're learning more about how war dogs, like their human companions, suffer the experience of living through violent combat.

A recent article in the New York Times notes that it's estimated that "more than 5 percent of the approximately 650 military dogs deployed by American combat forces are developing canine PTSD. Of those, about half are likely to be retired from service ..." The Times story also notes, "If anyone needed evidence of the frontline role played by dogs in war these days, here is the latest: the four-legged, wet-nosed troops used to sniff out mines, track down enemy fighters and clear buildings are struggling with the mental strains of combat nearly as much as their human counterparts."

Various treatments are used, including drugs that work on humans and also a process called desensitization. One success story about Gina made the news but it's too early to know about the fate of other dogs who selflessly serve. I'm thrilled these amazing dogs are finally getting the treatment they fully deserve, whether they can go back to combat or not. 

Recent Posts in Animal Emotions

Judge Recognizes Two Chimpanzees as Legal Persons: A First

Two chimpanzees, Hercules and Leo, are determined to be persons in NY court

Dogs, Humans, and the Oxytocin-Mediated Strong Social Bond

Mutual gazing by dogs but not wolves increases oxytocin levels in humans.

Why Writing for Psychology Today Is a Good Idea

Writing for popular audiences is more effective than publishing in journals.

Wildlife Services Slaughtered 2.7 Million Animals in 2014

This federal agency AKA Murder Inc. wages horrific war on all types of wildlife.

Worms Sniff Out Cancer in Urine Better than Blood Tests

Roundworms correctly identify cancer samples 95.8% of the time

The Modern Savage: A New Book Questions Why We Eat Animals

James McWilliams' new book is a very thoughtful book about our meal plans