Canine-assisted therapy in the inpatient setting

David Snipelisky, M. Caroline Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Canine-assisted therapy (CAT) is widely used in outpatient settings, yet there is little published literature regarding its use, efficacy, and safety in the inpatient setting. The primary objective of this review was to consolidate published information regarding CAT efficacy and safety in the inpatient population. The secondary objective was to review safety concerns associated with CAT. The databases PubMed, Ovid MEDLINE, and Web of Knowledge were searched using the dates April 2003-April 2013 with the terms "animal assisted therapy" and "pet therapy." Articles were reviewed for the relevance of CAT in the inpatient setting, and those meeting our criteria were included in the study. The references of selected articles also were reviewed and included if study criteria were met. The review of the literature resulted in 429 total articles using the search terms. Of the 429 articles, 177 were duplicates and 218 pertained to the outpatient setting or involved animal therapies other than canine, leaving 34 articles that met the search criteria. The bibliography review of the 34 articles yielded an additional 10 articles. Our review of the literature showed that in the inpatient setting, CAT is an effective therapy among patients of all ages and with various medical problems and is safe, with no transmitted infections reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-273
Number of pages9
JournalSouthern medical journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Canine-assisted therapy
  • Inpatient canine therapy
  • Inpatient pet therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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