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K-9 Veterans Day

March 1, 2021
K-9 Veterans Day is March 13th! Why is it celebrated on the 13th? That’s the anniversary of the formation of the first the US Army K9 Corps, which happened back in 1942. This is one holiday that is very near and dear to our hearts. Our canine friends are both brave and loyal, and they have at times risked—or even sacrificed—their lives in service. A local Des Moines, IA veterinarian discusses these brave dogs below.


There are many different kinds of dogs working as K-9s. The German Shepherd is likely the most popular. Labrador Retrievers and Belgian Malinois pups also make great K-9s. However, breed isn’t the only thing that determines whether a dog is specifically suited for this work or not. Intelligence, obedience, temperament, and agility are also key factors. These things, of course, vary from dog to dog. Before becoming an official K-9, Fido has to go through several months of training, and pass many tests.


K-9 dogs are trained to perform a variety of tasks. Some sniff out bombs or other weapons. Others work in search and rescue, or assist the military or law enforcement in other ways.


Just like people, these brave dogs are sometimes affected by what they see and experience. They can develop a sort of doggy PTSD, which can lead to an early retirement. However, many K-9s work until they begin to grow old. More often than not, they are adopted by their handlers. In fact, as many as 90 percent join their handlers’ families permanently.


K-9s are protected by several laws. Back in 2000, President Clinton signed a law making it legal to adopt those who do need homes. It’s also a felony to assault or kill a K-9.


While adopting any dog is a wonderful thing to do, it’s important to realize that K-9s are quite different from other pooches. You’ll need to pass a background check, and then take some classes on handling techniques.

Puppy Jake

As you may know, we work with the Puppy Jake foundation, which pairs service dogs with vets. While these pooches aren’t exactly K-9 veterans, they are still working dogs that go above and beyond for their human friends. Click here to learn more about the foundation. Please feel free to contact us, your local Des Moines, IA veterinary clinic, anytime. We are always here for you!

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