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The Research of Standardized Protocols for Dog Involvement in Animal-Assisted Therapy: A Systematic Review

By A. Santaniello, S. Garzillo, S. Cristiano, A. Fioretti, L. F. Menna

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Abstract

Dogs are considered the most important species involved in animal-assisted therapy (AAT), and the scientific literature focuses on the benefits linked to the involvement of dogs in various therapeutic areas. In this study, we carried out a systematic review according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, exploring the scientific literature from the last 5 years (2016-2021) on three databases (PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science) to highlight the characteristics of the dogs involved in AATs. Based on the scientific literature relevant to such dogs, we considered different parameters (i.e., number, age, sex, breed, temperament, methods of choice and training, health status, research goals, and activities with dogs) to include studies in our paper. After screening 4331 papers identified on the searched databases, we selected 38 articles that met the inclusion criteria. Analysis of the included articles showed that the characteristics of the dogs were neglected. Our findings indicated a lack of information about the dogs, as well as the absence of standardized and univocal criteria for dog selection, training programs, and health protocols.

Publication Title Animals (Basel)
Volume 11
Issue 9
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615 (Print)2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani11092576
Author Address Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Productions, University of Naples Federico II, 80134 Naples, Italy.SInAPSi Center, University of Naples Federico II, 80133 Naples, Italy.
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Dogs
  4. One Health
  5. open access
  6. Public health
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  1. open access