Evaluating Stress in Dogs Involved in Animal-Assisted Interventions
School of Animal Biology, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia 6009, Australia
Cooperativa Sociale Le Mille e Una Notte, Rome 00141, Italy
Canile Sovrazonale, ASL Roma 3, Rome 00148, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Received: 23 August 2019 / Revised: 25 September 2019 / Accepted: 17 October 2019 / Published: 19 October 2019
Dogs are widely involved in animal-assisted interventions (AAIs), but little information is available to determine if AAIs are stressful for dogs. Maintaining the animal wellness is ethically crucial and it is decisive for the success of the AAIs. This study wanted to assess if dogs were stressed during the sessions. Nine dogs, belonging to the A.N.U.C.S.S. (the National Association for the Use of Dogs for Social Aims) association, were observed before, during, and after AAIs with patients—who had mental and/or physical disabilities—to underline any signs of stress. Our results suggested that our dogs were not stressed, as the level of anxious behaviour was low and similar in all three kinds of sessions (before, during, and after sessions).