Fuzz Fix: The Physiological Effects of Both Human and Canine Interactions on a College Campus
The implementation of Animal Assisted Activities (AAA’s) on college campuses during finals week has grown in popularity in recent years. The belief is that AAA’s help reduce student stress levels during a week of difficult exams. However, there is limited research on the effects of these programs on both the students and the dogs. This study looked at the effects that interaction with a dog prior to taking a test had on student’s heart rate and blood pressure. Participants in the experimental group had their heart rate and blood pressure measured before and after interacting with a dog, while participants in the control group had their heart rate and blood pressure measured before and after a coloring activity. Additionally, the heart rates and blood pressures of the dogs participating in the study were measured at baseline and after interacting with a human. Male participants had a significantly lower systolic blood pressure after petting a dog and dogs had a significantly higher heart rate after a human interaction. No other significant changes were found.