Study to Show Impact of Therapy Dogs on Cancer

Photo: NBC News

Photo: NBC News

Doctors and families have long known that therapy dogs can have a positive impact on children suffering from cancer, but until now, there has been no concrete research to back up that belief. Now, the American Humane Association is launching the first clinical trial to show the effects of animal-assisted therapy on young cancer patients and their families.

Through this research, the AHA hopes to present the first-ever clinical details about the impact that animal-assisted therapy has on pediatric patients, as well as their loved ones and caregivers.

The research is expected to show that the dogs provide a significant benefit, which could be used to increase the use of certified therapy dogs in children's hospitals nationwide.

The study will follow 100 children in five different children's hospitals who have been recently diagnosed with cancer. Half the patients will receive visits from therapy dogs, while the other half will receive standard treatment. The study will track people's physical response to the dogs, including their blood pressure and heart rate. Additionally, they will also study the dog's physical response to performing the therapy.

For child patients and their families whose lives have been affected by this disease, therapy dogs can mean the difference between a good and a bad day. This study is an incredible way to provide tangible evidence that dogs are, in fact, capable of having a physiological impact on people.

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