Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Adopting a Companion Dog Helps Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in a Pilot Randomized Trial

Stern SL, Finley EP, Mintz J, Jeffreys MD, Beaver BV, Copeland LA, Seawell MD, Bridgeman CH, Hamilton AB, Mata-Galan EL, Young-McCaughan S. Adopting a Companion Dog Helps Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in a Pilot Randomized Trial. Society & Animals. 2022 May 23; 23(1):1-24.

Related HSR&D Project(s)

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


Despite significant treatment advances, many military veterans continue to suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and associated symptoms, suggesting a need for new interventions. This pilot trial examined the change in psychological symptoms of 19 veterans in treatment for PTSD who were randomized either to adopt a dog immediately from a Humane Society shelter (n = 9) or to a three-month waitlist followed by dog adoption (n = 10). The dogs were companion dogs, not service animals. The investigators analyzed quantitative assessments using mixed regression models with repeated measures. All veterans also participated in periodic semi-structured interviews. The study results showed companion dog adoption to be a feasible adjunctive intervention that helped improve PTSD and depressive symptoms for most participants. These findings suggest that this is a promising approach that is worthy of further study. Keywords: animal-assisted therapy; dog; nonhuman animal; posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); veteran

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.