Medical Dogs Trained to Work with Traumatized Children & Adults

Dog on MRI table

Medical dogs change lives. These companions help children and adults overcome trauma, heal, and find happiness. Here we share some incredible things they do to help their human patients.

Children Focused

Research shows that canines help reduce clinical anxiety in children. But medical dogs take this to another level as they are specially trained – not only to detect abuse and suffering but to support the healing process too. Medical dogs provide comfort, joy, and a trustworthy relationship to children who have suffered a traumatic event.

Response to Nightmares

Medical dogs can help wake up patients who suffer from severe nightmares. They sense when someone is in distress and may need to wake up. They wake up the person in a soft and gentle way. Some dogs, for example, may lick the face of their patient. After the nightmare has been disturbed, the child or adult can start to get a great night's sleep.

Medical dogs
Emergency Situations

People who have suffered from traumatic events may struggle in high-pressured situations, as they can be triggering and stressful. Medical detection dogs can assist their patients in navigating through these emergency circumstances. It might be something relatively simple, such as the fire bell ringing at school, or it could be something more complicated, such as getting home during a severe storm.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Medical response dogs are specially trained to ease their patients' stress and anxiety. They are highly tuned to people's emotions and can detect even the smallest changes in mood.

They also provide something tactile for patients' to play with and touch during a period of high anxiety. Contact with animals helps boost serotonin levels – an important hormone that regulates anxiety and aids sleep. Equally important, medical dogs offer a constant and stable presence in their patients' lives.

Medical dogs
Daily Tasks

If an adult or a child has experienced a traumatic event, this can affect them in many ways. For some people, it can become difficult to do simple everyday tasks. This can become particularly problematic if an adult is struggling to be self-sufficient. Luckily, medical alert dogs can help. Medical dogs can be trained to help with everyday tasks – from passing their patient their morning tablets to closing doors and turning off lights.

Searching a House

Sadly, after a traumatic event, children and adults may develop hypervigilance. As part of this, they might rigorously check their bedrooms and homes before bed and sometimes even throughout the day. Medical response dogs can help with this, as they will check the spaces for their patients, giving them peace of mind. Their positive attitude and presence are also reassuring.

The Round-Up

From helping with nightmares and emergency situations to reducing anxiety levels, these are just some incredible things medical dogs can do to assist their patients. These companions are supportive, reassuring, highly-trained, and perceptive. Over time, they can make a huge difference to the progress and happiness of the child or adult they work with.

If you are blessed to have one of these wonderful canines in your life, you know the important role that nutrition plays in their overall wellbeing. Find healthy dog treats here.


There are children around the country who have been subjected to trauma and are in desperate need of healing. Specially trained Medical Dogs can make a huge difference in their lives. O.T.I.S. is committed to working with children’s hospitals and other organizations to help fund the training of Medical Dogs, spread awareness of their therapeutic abilities, and to increase the demand for Medical Dogs by medical teams.

Understanding the Difference between Therapy and Medical Dogs

Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs have one mission: improving the quality of life for those they interact with. Therapy dogs often visit hospitals, schools, and nursing homes as an approach to strengthening emotional wellbeing.

They may simply visit residents in an assisted living facility or sit with a young child who is having trouble learning to read. They offer comfort, engagement, and affection.

Medical Dogs

Medical dogs are specially trained to help people with physical, intellectual, sensory, psychiatric, or mental trauma. They do everything from working with children coping with major traumatic events to providing medical attention to owners experiencing a seizure.

How You Can Support Medical Dogs Today

At O.T.I.S. we work every day to support the transformative and heroic work of medical dogs that change the lives of children across the country. That’s why for every purchase of our functional supplements $1 goes to medical dog support so these remarkable canines can continue to help children who are most in need of healing.