Common Dog Problems: Post-Traumatic Disorder in Rescue Dogs

Common dog problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder occur when dogs experience traumatic events.

Causes of PTSD in Dogs

Dogs who experience extremely stressful and traumatic events can carry psychological trauma. Traumatic events that can impact a dog's psychological health can include abuse, or having survived a life-threatening event, such as Hurricane Katrina.

PTSD in Rescued Dogs

Dogs rescued from bad situations often suffer from common problems associated with PTSD. Dogs who have been abused, left in the wild, or lived through natural disasters may carry the psychological scars of their traumatic experiences. Dogs who have lost their owners may also experience symptoms of grief as well as trauma-related stress.

Symptoms of PTSD in Dogs

Common problems in dogs suffering from PTSD include increased stress and anxiety, often manifested by breaking house-training, whining, barking and howling, or hiding for no reason. Dogs suffering from PTSD may display unwarranted aggression.

Dealing with Common PTSD Dog Problems

If your dog is suffering from PTSD symptoms, there are things you can do to help ease his mind.

  • Create a safe, quiet place where your dog can get away from other dogs and people.
  • Put something familiar in this safe place. A favorite toy might do the trick; an article of your clothing that you've worn can soothe your dog's anxiety.
  • Interactive play can help relieve your dog's PTSD-related stress, but let him set the pace.
  • Return to a normal routine as soon as possible after the stressful event.