Can Golden Retrievers Have PTSD?

Roberto Manzotti

Are dogs affected by things Psychologically like humans?


A lot of research has been conducted over the years to answer this question and, to an extent, dogs do have Psychological effects after going through major life trauma and, doggy mental health is something we need to talk about.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a severe psychological disorder that is a result of a traumatic life event. PTSD is a common disorder in humans and is found in people that have gone through traumatic events like a natural disaster, war, abuse in a relationship, etc.

But, can your Goldy have PTSD?

In this blog post, I will answer the question, “Can dogs have PTSD?” in detail.


Let’s begin.



Yes or No: Can Golden Retrievers Have PTSD?

In a study done recently, it was found that dogs can also develop PTSD. The fact is that an estimated 5% of military dogs are known develop the disorder.

The thing is that search and rescue dogs have the task of finding bodies after disasters, military dogs are tasked with detecting bombs, etc. and these situations are traumatic for a dog and can cause him to have PTSD.

Civilian dogs can also suffer from PTSD.

If a dog has undergone a natural disaster, or has been abused, abandoned or neglected, he can also develop PTSD.

Rescue dogs fall into this category.

Following are some reasons why dogs suffer from PTSD:

  • A natural disaster

  • Loss of a beloved caretaker

  • Getting abandoned to live in the wild

  • Emotional or physical abuse

  • Military combat

  • Bad interactions with other animals

  • Serious accidents


In the next section of this blog post, I will go through the symptoms of this disorder.


Signs Your Golden Retriever Has PTSD

The signs and symptoms of PTSD vary from dog to dog.

Anxiety disorders and PTSD have similar symptoms in dogs so; it isn’t always easy to tell the difference between the two. Following are the signs of separation anxiety and PTSD:

  • Going to the bathroom in the house

  • Barking, howling or whining

  • Destructive behavior


A dog suffering from PTSD may show the following signs of stress:

  • Tucked tail

  • Pinned back ears

  • Panting

  • Crouching low to the ground


Some other symptoms that hint PTSD:

  • Your dog clings to you in fear

  • Sudden aggressive behavior

  • Depression

  • Being hyper-aware of his surroundings


One of the most common characteristics of PTSD is that the dog re-experiences the original trauma. Each time your dog responds to stress, various neurochemicals and hormones are released into your dog’s bloodstream.

This causes oxidative stress that may even result in brain damage.


Pet, Civilian Dogs, and PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder in dogs is much more common than people realize. dog ptsd post traumatic stress disorder

People tend to believe that it is common for military dogs to detect bombs and search and rescue dogs. However, that’s not true at all. Deeply stressful events can have long-lasting negative effects on your dog’s learning and brain plasticity.

Dogs that have suffered physical or emotional abuse by their trainers or owners show signs of PTSD.

Dogs who suffered from serious illness and had to be kept in a kennel or at the vet’s office for a long time also show the symptoms. Dogs attacked by other dogs, exposed to violence and physical trauma, or any other stressful life event are all prone to PTSD.

But, not all dogs experience stress in the same way and have the same symptoms or reactions. While some dogs are more sensitive than the others, and get deeply affected by the negative events and have a severe reaction. Dogs that aren’t sensitive don’t have severe reactions.

Dogs can also develop some symptoms that are similar to those that humans who suffer from PTSD experience. This includes memory loss and neurological damage.


Summing Up: Can Goldies Have PTSD?

Yes, dogs can have PTSD like humans do and do suffer after living through a traumatic life event.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is seen in police and military service dogs, dogs that have been abused, lost their caretaker or gone through a natural disaster. Following are the signs of this stress commonly seen:

  • Tucked tail

  • Pinned back ears

  • Panting

  • Crouches low to the ground


The signs and symptoms of PTSD vary from dog to dog. While one dog may show a lot of physical symptoms, another may show behavioral ones. Each dog has a unique way of reacting to a stressful situation.

Dogs that have suffered physical or emotional abuse by their trainers or owners show, attacked by other dogs, exposed to violence and physical trauma, etc. signs of PTSD.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder needs to be treated so that the dog can live a happy and healthy life.


Still, have any questions about dogs and PTSD? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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