Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can result from experiencing or witnessing a dangerous or shocking event, such as disaster, war, or assault. Symptoms may include:

  • Avoidance – avoiding activities, places, and people that are reminders of the traumatic event
  • Emotional numbness – general loss of interest and lack of emotion, feeling distant from others
  • Re-experiencing the trauma – flashbacks, nightmares
  • Increased arousal – difficulty concentrating and sleeping, being easily angered and irritated, feeling jumpy
  • Increased stress – anxiety and being frightened, even when not in danger

The National Center for PTSD estimates that 7-8% of Americans — that’s over 23 million people — have suffered from PTSD at some point in their lives.

It is critical to get effective treatment for PTSD to reduce symptoms and improve the ability to function in daily life.

Emotional Support Animals for PTSD

An emotional support animal (ESA) can help people experiencing PTSD in many ways, including by offering:

  • Unconditional love and support – The love and support of an ESA is especially helpful for people dealing with PTSD, as often family members and friends have trouble understanding the condition and dealing with the symptoms.
  • Connection – Sometimes people experiencing PTSD are unable to connect with people who did not share their traumatic experience, and they become detached. ESAs can help people get back in touch with their ability to feel and express emotion, helping them reconnect to the world around them.

Why Do I Want an Emotional Support Animal Rather Than Just a Pet?

Think of an ESA as a supportive and loving pet that includes legal rights to ensure that you are not separated from their companionship. Because an ESA has been prescribed by a licensed mental health professional for conditions such as PTSD, they are given certain privileges. With a proper ESA letter:

  • ESAs are allowed to accompany their owner in the cabin on commercial airline flights under the Air Carrier Access Act.
  • Under the Fair Housing Act, ESAs are allowed to live with their owner in housing that has a no pet policy.
  • ESAs can access their legal housing and airplane privileges for no charge.

Emotional support animals require no specific training, although they should be well-mannered and under control in public.

Dogs for PTSD

Dogs are popular ESAs for people dealing with PTSD. They offer non-judgemental companionship and:

  • Dogs can encourage love which can help with feelings of detachment.
  • Dogs can be intuitive, sensing when their owner is becoming stressed and offering a loving presence to help relieve the overwhelm.
  • Dogs can be protective, giving a person with PTSD a feeling of security if they experience a flashback or nightmare and are unable to determine if they are truly in danger.
  • Dogs can offer stress relief by adding an element of fun and activity to the life of someone dealing with PTSD.
  • Dogs need to be taken outdoors which can help people with PTSD interact with the outside world and reduce feelings of detachment.
  • Dogs need exercise and physical exercise has been shown to be an effective part of PTSD treatment

Cats for PTSD

Emotional Support cats are also a popular choice for people dealing with PTSD.

  • Cats can be calming when their owner is feeling distressed or agitated.
  • Cats can be good cuddlers, giving a person dealing with PTSD a feeling of acceptance and comfort.
  • Cats can be playful, adding fun to the daily routine of a person with PTSD.
  • Cats can be quiet, clean and non-intrusive making them low maintenance companions, while still fostering a sense of responsibility.
  • Cats typically need little or no training.
  • Cats can be affectionate, helping people with PTSD with detachment issues.

Helping You Cope

Finding joy in everyday life can be challenging for people experiencing PTSD. ESA’s can help show people dealing with PTSD that they can cope with their symptoms in a positive and healthy way. 

If you need a properly executed ESA letter so you can live and travel with your pet who helps you cope, the DOGtor can help you just like we have helped thousands of Americans. You’ll find our service simple, fast, and surprisingly affordable.

Take our no-risk assessment today!