Sponsored by Nestlé Purina
Approximately 3.5 million military veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and it can have devastating effects on their families, work, and interpersonal lives. Thankfully, service dogs can reduce the severity of PTSD symptoms and suicidal behaviors for these veterans. Yet, even with evidence-based results, due to the cost and time it takes to train a service dog, only 1% of those in need who seek a service dog receive one each year.
Dog Chow set out on a mission to help change that, and Service Dog Salute was born.
Since 2018, Dog Chow has donated more than $1 million to service dog organizations, supporting the care and training of more service dogs for veterans with PTSD and other post-combat challenges. But the mission has only just begun.
It is important to note that these service dogs are not the same as emotional support, therapy or companion dogs. Rather, they are especially trained for veterans, helping their handler perform tasks they cannot otherwise perform on their own. These specialized skills are, in part, what make these dogs remarkable, but also rare. It takes about two years and approximately $25,000 to fully train a service dog and ensure the perfect placement for each dog and veteran.
The investment is large, but the impact is priceless. Some of the demonstrated benefits of PTSD service dogs for veterans include reduced anxiety and stress, improved sleep, improved confidence to return to work or school – or even to be in public, a restored sense of purpose, and more.
Many of these changes aren’t seen with the naked eye, which is why, last year, Dog Chow launched its first-ever Visible Impact Award, in partnership with the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans (ASDPMV). The award celebrated the remarkable impact service dogs have on the daily lives of veterans experiencing PTSD and recognize these outstanding service dogs and the organizations that trained them.
Want to join Purina Dog Chow and Purina associates in bringing more awareness and support to veteran service dogs? As a retailer, you can play a critical role in advancing awareness for our mission, which is now highlighted on every bag of Dog Chow Complete that arrives to retail stores. You can also contact your Purina sales rep to learn more about special Service Dog Salute in-store signage, social and digital assets, additional merchandise and more to drive attention for the program.
Our mission isn’t over. Will you join us?