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Dogs to the Rescue!

The use of animal-assisted interventions in health-care settings is an evidence-based practice. There are two types of animal-assisted interventions used in health-care settings: animal-assisted therapy (AAT) and animal-assisted activities (AAA). AAT is a goal-oriented, therapeutic intervention that involves animals, with the goal of enhancing overall health and well-being of patients, and is facilitated by health, education, or service professionals with formal training in the field. Conversely, AAA provide informal interactions for educational and/or motivational purposes. AAT typically requires the facilitator to have an active license or degree, whereas AAA does not require formal licensure. Although research has examined the use of various animals, dogs have consistently been shown to be more effective in animal-assisted interventions when compared with other animals (eg, horses, aquatic animals).

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Dog-assisted therapy (DAT) is an effective practice primarily in aging populations, pediatric care, and pain reduction.

golden retriever close up with bandana Laura Fay / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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DAT is also an effective intervention among children with which of the following?

Young woman and her therapy dog working with children gpointstudio / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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DAT is not helpful for pain reduction in general health-care settings.

Young teenage cancer patient with Therapy Dog EricVega / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Dental professionals thinking about implementing animal-assisted interventions should consider creating guidelines before moving ahead with AAT.

Therapy dog at work with seniors Capuski / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Finding a dog breed that is hypoallergenic is most suitable for health-care settings.

Happy Smiling Young Girl Being Visited In Hospital By Therapy Dog monkeybusinessimages / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified evidence to suggest that animals pose more risk for transmitting infection than people.

Therapy Dog Visiting Young Female Patient In Hospital monkeybusinessimages / iStock / Getty Images Plus
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Dogs to the Rescue!
Not bad, but there’s room to grow when it comes to understanding the impact of animal-assisted interventions in health-care settings. Consider reading more about this important facet of dental hygiene care. Good luck!
Well done! Continue to study the impact of animal-assisted interventions in health-care settings. You’ve got this!
Congrats! You understand the importance of animal-assisted interventions in health-care settings. Get out there and put your know-how to good use!

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This information is from the article “Easing Anxiety with Therapy Dogs” by Jessica Suedbeck, RDH, MSDH and Kayla Reed-Fitzke, PhD, LMFT. To read the article, click here.
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