Current Perspectives on Therapy Dog Welfare in Animal-Assisted Interventions
Comparative Medicine, The Interuniversity Messerli Research Institute of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Medical University Vienna and University of Vienna, Vienna 1210, Austri
Received: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 1 February 2017
In animal-assisted interventions (AAIs) animals are used as adjuncts to therapy to positively affect human health. The practice of implementing dogs into therapeutic environments is emerging and as a result, there has been a growing scientific interest on human health outcomes over the past decades. Research efforts into the canine perspective of AAIs have been scarce. Accordingly, there is little consensus on the impact of such interventions on the animals involved. This paper aimed to contribute to the limited body of knowledge by reviewing available studies on therapy dogs’ welfare during AAIs. Moreover, discussion of theoretical and methodological issues, implications for practice and suggestions for future research are provided.