Therapy dogs have calming effect on children having cancer treatment | Dogalize
A new trial presents some of the first solid data to support anecdotal reports of the positive impact dog therapy programs can have on children with cancer and their families.
The preliminary findings are to be presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibition in Washington, DC, on Sunday, October 25th.
Around 1 in 285 children in the US will be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20. Survival rates for kids with cancer have improved dramatically in past decades. The number who die within 5 years of diagnosis has declined by more than 50% from 1975-1977 to 2007-2010.
However, this improvement has not been matched by evidence of what can be done to improve quality of life for these young patients and their families.
Therapy dogs are an example of animal-assisted therapy (AAT), where animals form part of the treatment of human patients. The aim is to improve the patient's social, emotional or mental functioning and well-being.
Many hospitals now have therapy dogs that visit patients and their families, and the new trial takes place at five such hospitals in the US.