Service Dogs For PTSD and other Mental Health issues

In Canada, trained service dogs are increasingly being used to support individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a practice more established in the US. These dogs are known to accelerate PTSD recovery and lessen medication dependence.

Beyond PTSD, these service dogs are trained for tasks alleviating symptoms of various psychological disorders including Acute Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Generalized Anxiety Disorders, and Mood Disorders. The training of these dogs is specialized; they learn to recognize and respond to signs of anxiety or panic attacks in their handlers. For example, they might provide a physical barrier in crowded places, offer tactile stimulation to ground the person during a disorienting episode, or perform deep pressure therapy.

These service dogs not only assist in day-to-day activities but also enhance the overall quality of life for their handlers, offering comfort, security, and a sense of independence. Testimonials from individuals who have benefited from these service dogs highlight their transformative impact. As research in this field grows, the invaluable role of service dogs in mental health support is becoming more recognized and appreciated. This holistic approach to treatment shows promising results, with many individuals experiencing a significant improvement in their ability to navigate daily challenges and social interactions.


Promote Integration and Activity: Responsibility for the well-being of another and their consistent care helps a person with these issues build a brighter future. The dogs are active animals and they need to get out and be exercised. This forces the needy individual to be part of that. The care of the dog also brings routine back into their life.

Suppress Hyper Vigilance: Hyper vigilance creates constant tension and paranoia. Individuals often require more personal space than the average individual. The dogs are trained to create a physical barrier that keeps the public at a comfortable distance.

Provide Reality Affirmation and Redirection: The dogs are trained to recognize the Individual’s anxious behaviour and physically redirect them to more positive activities i.e. petting the dog. In addition, for those experiencing nightmares or flashbacks, the dogs can provide vitally important reality affirmation with their persistent nudges and calm disposition.

Often the fact that the dog is not reacting allows the individual to feel safe in their environment.


K4PSD’s Trained Service Dogs are valued at $20,000 to $25,000. We expect them to have an eight to ten year working life. However, each dog is provided free of charge to approved individuals.

K4PSD receives no government funding and relies entirely on donations from the general public, corporate sponsors, fundraising events, and community supporters.

Our clients are expected to assist in our fundraising efforts. Their targets are at least $20,000, however the amount raised is not tied to when they will receive their service dog. Many of them participate by asking for donations from friends and family, by organizing their own fundraisers and also by helping promote many K4PSD organized community fundraisers. Individuals or families who do not show significant effort may risk losing their acceptance status.

The actual direct cost of the trained service dog to the individual is an application fee of $75, an equipment fee of approximately $100 at placement, and the cost of travel to training sessions in the Kingston area. All food and veterinary costs are borne by the recipient once the dog has been placed with the individual.

Wait Times

K4PSD has been steadily increasing the number of puppies in the program to keep up with demand. Our target it to continuously have 15-20 dogs in training across all of our programs. Currently, our wait time to be matched with a PTSD/Mental Heath dog is about 18 to 24 months from the time of approval.

The timing of a trained service dog placement is determined by chronological position on the waiting list and the availability of the right dog for the person’s needs and situation, and is in no way tied to fundraising efforts.

Application Process

To help ensure the success of each Team, K4PSD has designed an intensive application process to assist with the placement and matching of each dog. Each applicant is screened to ensure they meet our application criteria (lives within Ontario, suffers from medically diagnosed PTSD or some other mental health disability and is 18 years of age). An application can be completed on-line and sent to us along with several reference questionnaires from individuals involved in the person’s life. If our criteria is met, a K4PSD trainer conducts an in-home interview with a K4PSD dog to meet the person, learn more about the family, and discuss further questions and concerns. Final acceptance is determined following the in-home interview. Families may be disqualified at any time during the application process and should recognize that the dog who visits will not necessarily be the dog that will be placed with them.



K4PSD is currently accepting application from individuals living in Southeastern Ontario, over the age of 18 or minors over the age of 10 residing in their parents/guardians home, with a diagnosis of PTSD or certain other mental health disorders. Some restrictions may apply.

Our service area includes only the counties of Prescott and Russell, Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Lanark, Renfrew, Leeds and Grenville, Hastings, Prince Edward, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington; and the municipality of Ottawa.


If the applicant meets the above criteria, please complete our online application form and a staff member will be in contact within one week.

(Click the “Online Application” link below to access the application. Please read the instructions before you start. Please do not try to print the form or send it by regular mail. Only forms received online will be considered. For assistance regarding applications please write us at

Online application


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If you need more information, please contact us.

Thank you to all our generous Supporters


To provide trained service dogs and their continuing handling support to physically and emotionally challenged persons and their families, assisting them to become more independent in their Southeastern Ontario communities.
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Kingston 4 Paws Service Dogs
829 Norwest Road, Suite 202,
Kingston, Ontario K7P 2N3

Phone: 613-766-4441

Registered Charitable Organization
# 82942 4993 RR0001

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