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Benefits of dog-assisted therapy in patients with dementia residing in aged care centers in Spain

By E. Vegue Parra, J. M. Hernandez Garre, P. Echevarria Perez

Category Journal Articles

(1) Background: Currently, the scientific evidence on the benefits of assisted therapy with dogs in dementia is not clear. In this study, we want to evaluate such benefits through a randomized controlled clinical trial in multiple centers across the country. (2) Methods: The participants were people over 65 years old with dementia, residing in senior centers in Spain (n = 334). The experimental group underwent assisted therapy with dogs based on the Comprehensive Cognitive Activation Program in Dementia, for 8 months, with weekly sessions of 45 min. Data were collected at the commencement, middle, and end of the program, to evaluate the aspects using the Mini-Examination Cognitive, the modified Bartell Index, the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory. (3) Results: The results show significant improvements in the experimental group versus the control group in the affective (T1 = p 0.000; T2 = p 0.000) and behavioral (T1 = p 0.005; T2 = p 0.000) aspects, with the affective aspect displaying greater progress in participants with additional depressive (p = 0.022) or anxiety (p = 0.000) disorders, shorter institutionalization periods (r = −0.222, p = 0.004), and those undergoing complementary psychotherapy (p = 0.033) or alternative therapy (p = 0.011). (4) Conclusions: Dog therapy is effective in improving the affective and behavioral aspects of institutionalized patients with dementia.

Date 2021
Publication Title International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume 18
Issue 4
Pages 12
ISBN/ISSN 1660-4601
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ijerph18041471
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Alzheimer disease
  2. Animal-assisted therapies
  3. Dementia
  4. Dogs
  5. Mammals
  6. open access
  7. Spain
  1. open access