Chronic sensory loss is a common and undertreated consequence of many forms of neurological injury. Emerging evidence indicates that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) delivered during tactile rehabilitation promotes recovery of somatosensation. Here, we systematically varied the timing of VNS relative to tactile rehabilitation to determine the paradigm that yields the greatest degree of somatosensory recovery after peripheral nerve injury (PNI). The medial and ulnar nerves in rats were transected, causing chronic sensory loss. Eight weeks after injury, rats were given a VNS implant followed by four weeks of tactile rehabilitation sessions consisting of repeated mechanical stimuli to the previously denervated forepaw. Rats received VNS before, during, or after tactile rehabilitation. Delivery of VNS during rehabilitative training generates robust, significant recovery compared to rehabilitative training without stimulation (56 ± 14% improvement over sham stimulation). A matched amount of VNS before training, immediately after training, or two hours after training is significantly less effective than VNS during rehabilitative training and fails to improve recovery compared to rehabilitative training alone (5 ± 10%, 4 ± 11%, and -7 ± 22% improvement over sham stimulation, respectively). These findings indicate that concurrent delivery of VNS during rehabilitative training is most effective and illustrate the importance of considering stimulation timing for clinical implementation of VNS therapy.Copyright © 2023. Published by Elsevier Ltd.