The Power of Paws: A Literature Review of Therapy Dogs in the Hospital Setting

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Authors
Young, Maggie
Advisor
Brustkern, Madelyn
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Date of Issue
2024
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Title
The Power of Paws: A Literature Review of Therapy Dogs in the Hospital Setting
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Presentation
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Abstract
Since 1980, animal-assisted interventions, defined as the valuable utilization of specially trained animals in services to improve human health, have gained popularity in the hospital setting. This literature review examines the role of therapy dogs in hospitals, specifically focusing on their impact on patients' pain, anxiety, depression, and cardiopulmonary pressures. The results of randomized data and survey data suggest that patients and their families who interacted with therapy dogs experienced significant reductions in these symptoms, as well as, increased motivation to participate in group sessions and fewer emotional behaviors and outbursts compared to those without therapy dog visitations. Additionally, a high percentage of patients in the Emergency Department expressed a desire for therapy dogs to be present during their treatments. These findings highlight the benefits of animal-assisted interventions in hospitals and support the need for further research in this area.
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Anthrozoology