Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Senior Honors Thesis

Department or School

Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Kellman-Fritz

Second Advisor

Dr. Angie Mann-Williams

Third Advisor

Dr. Lynn Nybell


This literature review will seek to review and analyze the efficacy of Canine-Assisted Therapy as a complementary method for combat veterans suffering symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress .Disorder (PTSD), with a particular focus on those who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and/or Operation New Dawn (ONO). In recent years, many programs, agencies and therapists have more frequently incorporated the use of service dogs into therapy for post-deployment veterans. In past decades, some studies' results were deemed inconclusive by accredited authorities due to their low level of generalizability and lack of quantitative methodology and analysis. However, more recent studies have exposed data that suggests Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) utilizing dogs, horses and cats, when used in a complementary manner in conjunction with other more conventional, evidence-based psychotherapies, present the potential for substantially improving the results of therapy, increasing participation and shortening recovery time through impacting the above mentioned areas of physical, psychological, emotional PTSD symptoms, social experiences and levels of support. Therefore, this newer approach holds the promise of bettering PTSD treatment and increasing effectivity by filling in the gaps of traditional therapies currently used by the Veteran Health Administration (VHA) within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) such as Cognitive Behavioral

Included in

Social Work Commons