DVA Support

Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Psychiatric Assistance Dog Program

DVA’s Psychiatric Assistance Dog Program provides veterans with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with a trained assistance dog. Assistance dogs are provided to veterans to help support their treatment for PTSD. Veterans involved in the Program are encouraged to continue contact with their treating mental health professional.

Integra are one of the dog training providers contracted to assist DVA to support veterans nationally.

What is a psychiatric assistance dog?

Psychiatric assistance dogs are trained to perform tasks to help their veteran handler meet their clinical recovery goals. This includes detecting signs of distress and performing tasks to help alleviate the symptoms. It could be things such as:

  • waking the veteran if they are having a night terror
  • nuzzling the veteran handler to distract them from emotionally disabling symptoms; or
  • moving the handler out of stressful situations.

What are the benefits of applying for a psychiatric assistance dog through DVA?

DVA’s Program provides eligible veterans with a trained psychiatric assistance dog tailored to perform tasks to meet their individual clinical recovery needs at no cost.
After veterans complete the training process and graduate with their assistance dog, they can contact their dog supplier for ongoing advice and assistance. Veteran handlers also have a face to face check-in with a trainer every 6 months to see how things are going.

Veterans with a DVA provided assistance dog can be reimbursed for the costs needed to maintain the welfare of the dog, including:

  • Food
  • Pet insurance
  • Vet bills; and
  • Grooming.

Do you want to know more about the DVA Program?

For more information on the Program and how to apply, go to the DVA website www.dva.gov.au/dogs.